Heartless: Military, police file motion to re-arrest innocent man

On the military’s motion questioning the court’s ruling releasing security guard portrayed as top rebel leader and asking for his rearrest: Heartless

By National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

The military and police officers’ “Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and for Order of Re-Arrest” of our client Rolly Panesa is not only a desperate act but is simply heartless.

Private security guard Panesa was portrayed by the military and police as a supposed ranking leader of the New People’s Army in order to fetch a multimillion bounty of P5.8M despite overwhelming evidence that he is not Benjamin Mendoza. After almost a year of unjust incarceration, the Court of Appeals eventually saw the lies and inconsistencies of the military’s professional witnesses and finally ordered his immediate release last August.

This latest Motion is simply untenable. In our Comment filed yesterday, we asserted that there is no legal or factual basis to reconsider the August 27, 2013 Decision since the same is fully in accordance with law, jurisprudence and the evidence. It is plain recycled hogwash aimed at saving face for a high-profile bungled money-making racket.

To start with, why would the military and police now question the jurisdiction and authority of the court to determine the identity of Panesa – an issue intrinsically decisive of the legality of his arrest and detention for which the remedy of habeas corpus was intended as an extraordinary remedy to afford a speedy and effectual relief to persons who are illegally detained – when they have actively and assiduously participated the proceedings through their lawyers who fought tooth and nail to keep him? They are simply estopped and cannot have their cake and eat it too.

The subject Decision cannot be more clear, categorical and unequivocal, both legally and grammatically, when it said that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is hereby issued immediately and that the Jail Warden is commanded to forthwith execute the writ for our client’s discharge from confinement and to release him.

It would not be amiss to point out certain crucial points in this tragedy to put all these in the proper perspective. This is actually and in reality not a case of “mistaken identity.” The respondents-movants, shamelessly aided by their unscrupulous lawyers who wittingly or unwittingly have tinkered with the life of an innocent ordinary security guard who did not know what hit him, have actually simulated the arrest to justify a wrongful and unjust detention.

The only motivation of such callous injustice is the handsome bounty (Php5.8 Million pesos) over the head of one Benjamin Mendoza who is allegedly a ranking rebel leader and the unworthy brownie points that come along with it in the process. Panesa is not the first victim of such money-making scheme. That it is covered by a dangerous “secret bounty list” issued by the Department of Defense and Department of Interior and Local Government in a Memorandum dated November 2012 simply institutionalizes this injustice.

Finally, is it not plainly stretching credulity or credence that a supposedly wanted high-ranking rebel leader like Panesa – who so naturally comported, deported and proven himself in and out of court as nowhere remotely close to being such – would personally and publicly file and pursue immediately after his release criminal countercharges for torture and other crimes against his captors and their handlers and errand boys?

Would it not have been inordinately convenient and easier for him to have just run posthaste back to the “mountains” on the one hand if he were indeed a rebel leader as he is being portrayed by respondents-movants or that he could just have “moved on” and lived a quiet life and charge all these to (sad) experience on the other hand if his rights, liberty and dignity were not trampled upon with impunity?


Edre U. Olalia
National Secretary General

Ephraim Cortez
Assistant secretary general for Legal Services

Latest Posts

Latest Posts