2 mistaken for communist rebs freed after 17 months in jail
MEXICO, Pampanga—Crying and wailing, Lourdes Quioc, 65, and Reynaldo Ingal, 64, were reunited with their families on Friday after spending 17 months at the Bulacan provincial jail in the City of Malolos for a murder they did not commit.
The two were freed by Judge Corazon Domingo-Rañola, of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 10, who dismissed the murder and frustrated murder charges meant for suspected Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leaders Eugenia Magpantay and Agaton Topacio following an ambush on Army soldiers in 2004.
Quioc and Ingal were mistaken for Magpantay and Topacio when they were arrested in Barangay Tinajero in Mexico town on Oct. 1, 2014.
The grandchildren, children and neighbors of Quioc and Ingal welcomed them at the house of their relative, provincial board member Teddy Tumang.
Ingal, who said jail time had traumatized him, retired in 2009 as a driver of the National Power Corporation’s Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong town in Bataan province.
Quioc said she was eager to resume her tasks at the parish pastoral council in Mexico town.
Former martial law detainee Satur Ocampo had testified that Quioc and Ingal were not Magpantay and Topacio.
Ocampo said he was detained with Magpantay and Topacio between 1977 and 1979 at the Bicutan rehabilitation center. Magpantay and Topacio were among the 72 people, including CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison, who were charged with 14 counts of murder.
This was not the first time the government sent innocent people to jail, believing they were communist rebels. In 2013, the Court of Appeals directed the police to release security guard Rolly Mira Panesa, who was mistaken for Danilo Benjamin Mendoza, a suspected officer of the CPP and New People’s Army.
Ocampo said the police and military had made four other “mistaken identity arrests” since 2012.
Aside from Panesa, who had a reward of P5.6 million for his capture, the other victims of mistaken identity were Olegario Sevas (Dec. 25, 2012; Negros Occidental), Ofelio Inong (Sept. 10, 2013; Sagada, Mountain Province) and Eduardo Esteban (Aug. 5, 2014; Jaro, Iloilo).
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