‘They Tortured Me,
Used Me to Get Reward’
(Photo by the Asian Human Rights Commission)
I am Rolly Panesa, 48 years old. I live in Project 4 of Quezon City.
I am a security guard.
About the incident, it happened on Oct. 5, 2012, when I went to
Mandaluyong City to visit my child with my second wife. I was told
they have relatives from Singapore so they asked us to go to their
At 9:30 p.m., the guest had arrived. At 10:30 p.m., we were on our
way to our home in Project 4 of Quezon City. We went home early as I
have to go to work early morning the following day at 6:00 a.m. We
were riding in a black Toyota Vios. We parked the vehicle in front
of the World City Medical Center along Aurora Boulevard.
We were able to park the vehicle there because I know the security
guards there. I was working there from early 1999 until 2011. The
place is also walking distance in going to our home in Project 4 in
Quezon City. After we parked the vehicle, we were walking on our way
home passing Aurora Boulevard.
Here, two persons suddenly grabbed me. I was forced to lie on the
ground and was handcuffed. They did not tell me anything—no
explanations. They just handcuffed me and blindfolded me. I lost my
consciousness. I did no longer know what was happening during that
time. What I heard only was my wife yelling (as she was frightened)
at what she had seen they were doing to me.
After three days, I regained consciousness. I learned that I was
already in Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna. They took me there. By that
time, they had my clothes replaced. They also asked me whether I
know the place where I was taken, but I told them: “Ï don’t know
because I was blindfolded.”
Four of us were arrested at that time—the couple, owner of the
vehicle and their child—but they were released later. I was the only
one left detained in the camp.
When I regained my consciousness, they bathed me, changed my dress.
My face was bleeding at that time, my ears were bleeding, my teeth
were broken. Until now, my teeth are still broken. What happened in
the camp was they were forcing me to admit that I was Benjamin
Mendoza. They took me inside a room where they tortured me with my
handcuffs on. On three occasions, I remember they were asking the
But on the last question, when they had asked me to admit that I am
Benjamin Mendoza, but when I told them that my real name is Rolly
Panesa, they suddenly hit my head. Later they took me to Camp Bagong
Diwa with my blindfold still on. I had no idea where did we go or
what places did we pass through since I was blindfolded.
I think they arrested me because of the reward money on the head of
Benjamin Mendoza so they were arresting anyone whether or not they
are the real person so they can get the bounty. I learned about this
reward money after my arrest was reported in the media. In the
reports, the police and soldiers claimed that they have already
arrested Benjamin Mendoza.
Also this pattern of arresting persons so they could get the reward
is very common. I am not the only victim of this practice. I also
know other people who have suffered as I have. I could not mention
their names, but I’m sure that arresting and torturing persons to
get a reward is a common practice.
In our province, I heard about a person who was arrested for another
person also because the arresting officers wanted to get the reward
The truth, that I am not Benjamin Mendoza, was already affirmed by
the court. It was also because of the identification cards that I
have and have presented to the court. I have a complete set of
identification cards about my person. I don’t understand why the
government (police and the military) were insisting that I am
Benjamin Mendoza. In my papers, it was clear that I am not.
I have identity papers from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),
Social Security System (SSS), a driver’s license. Even my own
employer had provided proof proving that I am Rolly Panesa.
What the police and soldiers did to me was unjust. They tortured me.
My family was also affected. My livelihood was also affected. For us
victims, we must fight for our rights because what they are doing is
not good. What the soldiers are doing is unreasonable because they
are arresting anybody they like, especially those who have a bounty
for the arrest of a wanted person. They are using people to make
money. That is what they did to me. They used me.
I hope what happened to me will not happen to other people.
Panesa filed charges for violation of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009
against those who arrested and tortured him. In a
press release, Karapatan, a local coalition of human rights
groups, argued that the court’s decision “strengthens the
anti-torture case he filed against his arresting officers and