MANILA, Philippines—A group of human rights lawyers asked the Court of Appeals to dismiss the appeal of the military to re-arrest security guard Rolly Panesa who was ordered released after almost a year in detention.
The appeals court ordered Panesa’s release last Aug. 27 saying he was a victim of mistaken identity.
The military arrested Panesa last Oct. 5, 2012 tagging him as one Benjamin Mendoza, an alleged high-ranking officer of the New People’s Army.
In an urgent motion for reconsideration, the AFP through solicitor general Francis Jardeleza said the appellate court’s Fifth Division should have denied the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Panesa’s lawyers. It argued that the matter should have been handled by a trial court.
The military has charged Panesa with rebellion in local courts in the cities of Taguig and Lucena. It claims to have witnesses who can prove that he and Mendoza are the same man.
“Consistent with the position that the trial court has the best and sole jurisdiction of the case, it is likewise respectfully submitted that the Honorable Court should have denied the petition for a writ of habeas corpus considering that the detention of Panesa is by virtue of a valid commitment order,” the motion added.
But the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) in their comment pointed that the warrant of arrest was for ‘Benjamin Mendoza’ and not “Rolly Panesa.”
“The basis of the petitioners in filing this case is that the person who was arrested and under custody is not the same person who was the subject of the indictments on which the warrants of arrest and the commitment orders were issued,” NUPL led by lawyer Edre Olalia said.
Olalia said if Panesa is the ranking rebel leader, once released, he should have gone back to the mountains but he opted stay and file a case against his tormentors.
Last month, Panesa filed a complaint for torture, unlawful arrest, perjury and incriminatory machination before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against several police and military officers.