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Monday, October 6, 2014

‘Hilot,’ driver mistaken for top CPP leaders, say relatives

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— Relatives of two senior citizens, who were arrested last week in Pampanga province due to their alleged ties to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), have filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and a writ of amparo at the regional trial court (RTC) here in a bid to free them.

Police arrested Lourdes Quioc and Reynaldo Ingal in Mexico town on Oct. 1, using warrants meant for Eugenia Magpantay and Agaton Topacio, who are top leaders of the CPP.

In their petition, Alipio Quioc and Mary Ann Ingal said police mistook their relatives for Magpantay and Topacio.

“The victims are unlawfully restrained of their liberty. They were taken into custody without a valid warrant of arrest. None of the circumstances to justify a warrantless arrest are present,” their lawyers, Raymond Virayand Joeriz Balatbat, said in the 10-page petition.

The police on Oct. 2 took Lourdes Quioc, 64, and Reynaldo Ingal, 63, to the Bulacan provincial jail, where the case for murder against Magpantay, Topacio and 70 others, including CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison, has languished at RTC Branch 10 since 2004.

The case stemmed from an ambush by the New People’s Army on Army soldiers on Nov. 30, 2004, in Barangay (village) Pasong Bangkal in San Ildefonso town, Bulacan province. Six soldiers were reported killed in that ambush.

Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, Central Luzon police director, said police arrested Magpantay and Topacio based on warrants for murder charges issued by Judge Victoria Villalon-Fornillos. Magpantay was arrested in 1994 but had jumped bail, Petrasanta said.

The petition, filed by relatives of Quioc and Ingal, wants the RTC to order Petrasanta, regional police intelligence chief Senior Supt. David Allauigan and other policemen to present them to court.

But Petrasanta said it was up to the lawyers of Quioc and Ingal to prove in court that they were victims of mistaken identity.  He, however, said he had no evidence showing that Magpantay and Topacio replaced Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, chair and finance officer of the CPP, respectively, after the Tiamzons were arrested in Cebu province in March.

A police report identified Magpantay and Topacio as members of the CPP’s central committee. It identified Magpantay as a former secretary of the CPP’s Central Luzon regional committee.

“Our task is to curb criminality. My men simply served an arrest warrant for these persons who were allegedly responsible for numerous criminal activities in Central Luzon,” Petrasanta said.

In a telephone interview last week, Pampanga Board Member Teddy Tumang, former mayor of Mexico, said police and the military had arrested “innocent civilians.”

He knows Quioc, 62, because she is his wife’s cousin, Tumang said. Quioc is also a “hilot” (village midwife) and a member of the town’s parish pastoral council.

He said Ingal, 64, is a retired driver of National Power Corp. in Morong town, Bataan province.

Quioc’s mother, Angelina del Rosario, 90, went to the regional police headquarters in Camp Olivas here on Thursday to vouch for the innocence of her daughter. But police did not allow her and other relatives of Quioc and Ingal to get past the waiting area near the camp’s gate.

“Dek (Quioc) is not Magpantay. The life of my daughter is limited to our home and the church. She did not kill anyone,” Del Rosario told reporters.

“My brother dedicated his life to his family, nothing else,” Honorio Ingal said.

Quioc’s son, Arnold, said the arresting team did not show him a copy of the arrest warrant.

“I showed them my mother’s voter’s ID and her senior citizen’s ID, but they disregarded these. The barangay captain or any member of the council was not present during the arrest. There were two trucks of policemen and soldiers,” Arnold said.


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