SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
The human rights group, Karapatan, is calling on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to release Rolly Panesa, who has been held by the AFP, with no evidence or legal justification, for the past four months:
“The AFP should stop weaving its absurd lies on Rolly Panesa, to justify its claim to the P5.6M bounty on his head. Tigilan niyo na ang paglulubid ng kwento, tantanan niyo na si Rolly Panesa. Pinagkakitaan niyo na nga yung pagkaaresto at tortyur nung tao,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of rights group Karapatan.
“To this day, almost five months after they got Panesa, the AFP could neither show proof that Panesa is alleged rebel leader ‘Benjamin Mendoza’ nor repudiate the veracity of the documents submitted by Panesa, as proof that he is not Mendoza,” she said.
Karapatan, with Task Force Panesa, composed of church people from different denominations, today held a picket at the Court of Appeals as the spokesperson of the Southern Luzon Command, Col. Generoso Bolina took the witness stand to defend the AFP’s claim that security guard Rolly Panesa whom they abducted, tortured and jailed, is ‘Benjamin Mendoza’, a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines, with a 5.6 million peso reward.
“We demand the immediate release of Panesa. This detention is difficult for everyone. It is difficult for Panesa who remains clueless of why he is detained; it is also difficult for the government and the AFP to cook up evidences to prove their claim. The whole case is senseless,” said Palabay.
Karapatan claims that the government’s desperation to meet Oplan Bayanihan’s 2013 deadline is the motive behind the arrest of innocent civilians like Panesa. This Oplan Bayanihan deadline also “resulted in an increase in the cases of people who are falsely charged with criminal cases using warrants against John/Jane Does and aliases.” The Department of Justice (DOJ), as early as the 1990’s, issued Circular No. 50, saying that an appropriate description must accompany a particular John/Jane Doe but the practice continues.