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CIDG apologizes to journalist for erroneous arrest

/ 08:58 PM June 10, 2019
CHR probes ‘mistaken arrest’ of journalist in Mindanao

Davao City-based journalist Margarita Valle takes a puff at an inhaler to stave off an asthma attack while at the Bishop’s House in Pagadian City past 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, 2019, shortly after being released by the CIDG. Sr. Tess Cordova of the Sisters of Good Shepherd (left) talks to her at the Bishop’s House where she would be spending the night before returning to Davao City. (Photos by LEAH AGONOY / Inquirer Mindanao)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) apologized on Monday to veteran community journalist Margarita Valle, who was erroneously arrested for being mistaken as a suspected communist wanted for multiple cases.

“On behalf of the PNP-CIDG, I want to extend my sincerest apologies for the negative experience that you had with our CIDG personnel from Pagadian City at Laguindingan Airport in the morning of June 9, 2019,” Col. Tom Tuzon, chief of the CIDG Regional Field Unit 9, said in a statement.

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The statement was addressed to Valle, who was captured for being mistaken as Elsa Renton — whose aliases are Tina Maglaya and Fidelina Margarita Valle — a suspected member of the communist movement with arrest warrants for arson and multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property.

Tuzon admitted that the police transporting Valle from the airport in Misamis Oriental to the CIDG regional office in Pagadian City caused the journalist “unnecessary anxiety.”

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Valle was under the custody of the police for 11 hours before she was released.

“We sincerely request your understanding since the information given to our detectives on the ground is already a warrant of arrest and that the identity of the person on the warrant is only known to the complainant himself,” he said.

Tuzon added that police should have validated Valle’s identity before arresting her — even the information they had on Valle came from a “reliable source” from in the military.

He said the CIDG RFU-9 would take steps to ensure that the incident would not happen again.

Tuzon said an investigation on possible lapses during the arrest was ongoing, adding that any misconduct related to Valle’s arrest would be dealt with accordingly.

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TAGS: CIDG, Margarita Valle, mistaken identity, Tom Tuzon
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