Motion for reconsideration filed by tortured security guard at Laguna court

On May 31, 2018, torture survivor Rolly Panesa filed a motion for reconsideration on the acquittal of four police officers and other John and Jane Does involved in his torture and illegal arrest in 2012.

Panesa, a security guard of the Megaforce Security, was arrested on October 5, 2012, by joint elements of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, led by Southern Luzon Commander Maj. General Alan Luga, and the Philippine National Police. Panesa was mistaken for “Benjamin Mendoza”, whom the military alleged as a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) with a bounty of P5.6M. He was brought to Camp Vicente Lim where he was denied his right to counsel. He was later transferred and detained at Camp Bagong Diwa.

Panesa recalled that at Camp Vicente Lim, he was interrogated, tortured and forced to admit that he was “Benjamin Mendoza.” Every time he stood by his real identity, he would get a beating. According to his interrogators, a mole on Panesa’s nape proves that he is “Benjamin Mendoza.”

“The case of the torturers P/Insp. Bonifacio T. Guevarra, SPO1 Christopher E. Flores, P02 Ariel Dela Cruz, P02 Joseph M. Fernandez and other John and Jane Does has gone beyond the four corners of the Court. It should have been a test case for the  Duterte administration on its stand against torture as part and parcel of its alleged respect and adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

“The acquittal itself is already a political statement, a tacit nod to this administration’s use of torture by state agents to destroy its enemies, both real and imagined,” she added.

Palabay also said that the torture case is also a violation under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the government is obliged to act on it.

“There are actually several layers of actions that President Duterte can do, such as directing Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to ensure that justice is served on the case of Rolly Panesa. We have strong doubts though that Duterte, a purveyor of human rights violations, will do this. We will continue to stand with Rolly Panesa and all victims of torture and other rights violations in their quest for justice,” Palabay concluded.

For reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 09173162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 09189790580