A case of mistaken identity?
The question arose after the Kabankalan City Prosecutor’s Office ordered the release yesterday of Baltazar Saldo, who is alleged by the authorities to be Virgilio Paragan, alias Ka Hassan.
The release of Saldo to the custody of his family yesterday, after his presentation to the Kabankalan Prosecutor’s Office, was confirmed by Lt. Col. Joem Malong, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office 6, and Capt. Cenon Pancito, Public Affairs Office chief of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.
Saldo, who was positively identified by a witness as Paragan, who used to be the commander of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros Roger Mahinay Command, was arrested Sunday by police intelligence operatives and Army soldiers in Brgy. Santo Angel, Dumalag, Capiz.
Pancito said the witness is the son of a former comrade of Paragan, who also used to visit their house in southern Negros.
But the family of Saldo reportedly insisted that he is not Paragan.
Paragan has four pending arrest warrants for murder and attempted murder charges, issued by Kabankalan Regional Trial Court Judge Henry Arles, Guihulngan RTC Judges Mario Trinidad and Rosendo Bandal.
Malong admitted that the name in the arrest warrants is different from that of the arrested person.
But then, because we have a witness, we do not have any choice but to hold that person, she added.
This is a normal occurrence in police operations. If this is true, further validation of the statement of the witness who attended the press briefing (on Monday) should be done, Malong said, stressing that further legal processes should also be under taken.
She added that the release of the suspect by the prosecutor l is in order if he feels he still needs more evidence to jail the arrested person.
“I do not want also to incarcerate innocent individuals,” Malong emphasized.
Paragan has a bounty of P1,050,000 for his arrest, the military said.*
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