Victim of mistaken identity jailed in Bilibid, Padilla says

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 5) — Senator Robin Padilla on Tuesday revealed the plight of a 62-year-old man from Lanao del Norte who has been jailed for almost a month now after being mistaken for a fugitive.

Mohammad Maca-antal Said was at NAIA Terminal 3 bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Aug. 10 when immigration personnel intercepted him because of an "alert" on his name, Padilla said in a privilege speech.

According to the senator, Said was brought to Building 14 of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, which serves as a temporary detention facility of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and is still behind bars to date.

"Sa imbestigasyon po, natuklasan ng NBI International Airport Investigation Division (IAID) na mayroong siyam na warrants of arrest para sa isang Mohammad Said aka Ama Maas na tugma sa pangalan at pagkakakilanlan ni Tatay," Padilla said.

[Translation: In an investigation, the NBI International Airport Investigation Division discovered there were nine warrants of arrest for a certain Mohammad Said aka Ama Maas that matches the name and identity of this man.]

The lawmaker from Mindanao presented photos of the two individuals saying they do not even look alike.

He said it was not the first time Said was arrested on mistaken identity, but the NBI released him in the past and even issued him a clearance stating he has "no derogatory record."

To top it all, Padilla said there have been reports of Ama Maas' death during a military operation in Sulu in 2016.

"Inilapit po namin sa korte ang sabi ng korte kailangan pang dumaan sa proseso," Padilla said. "Hindi ko na po maintindihan kung ano bang proseso kailangan e matagal nang patay itong suspect na sinasabi nila."

[Translation: We brought this to court who said that it has to go through the process. I don't understand what process is needed as the suspect they are talking about has been dead for some time.]

Reports said Maas was among those killed in a 2016 encounter in Sulu. He was said to be involved in the 2015 abduction of a Norwegian national.

He said the incident also shows flaws in the information sharing activities of agencies, which need to be addressed.

"Ang kaso po ng mistaken identity ay hindi makatwiran, hindi makatarungan at hindi makatao," the senator said. "Hindi na po ito katanggap-tanggap lalo na sa panahon na bumubuhos ang technology at innovation."

[Translation: The case of mistaken identity is unreasonable, unjustifiable, and inhuman. This is unacceptable especially now when we are flooded with technology and innovation.]

Padilla, as well as opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros, recalled the case of 17-year-old Jemboy Baltazar who was killed by cops after being mistaken for a murder suspect in Navotas.

Hontiveros said it is high time law enforcement agencies reviewed their policies to stop cases of mistaken identity that violate human rights.

The speeches were referred to the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino, for legislative probe.