Journalist Margarita Valle (second from right) speaks with human rights workers inside a police station in the Philippine city of Pagadian. Police arrested Valle, 61, after she was mistaken for a suspected communist rebel who is wanted for murder and arson. (Photo courtesy of Leah Agonoy)
Human rights and media groups in the Philippines have condemned the arrest of a 61-year old journalist in the southern region of Mindanao.Police arrested Margarita Valle, a columnist of the Davao Today newspaper on June 9 at the airport in Cagayan de Oro on a warrant for arson and multiple murder, that were later found to be for another person.The police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group later admitted the mistake after holding Valle for about nine hours in the city of Pagadian.
Valle’s arrest came in the wake of the June 6 killing of an account executive of a government-run television station.
Adam Moraleta, 56, who was shot near his house in Holy Spirit village in Manila’s Quezon City.
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"His killing comes both as a shock and a surprise for its seeming lack of compelling reason," said the group.Valle, meanwhile, was later released to Pagadian Bishop Ronald Lunas.Valle, whose full name is Fedelina Margarita Avellanosa Valle, was mistaken for Elsa Renton — also known as Tina Maglaya and Fidelina Margarita Valle, a suspected rebel wanted on a 2006 arrest warrant for arson and a 2011 arrest warrant for multiple murder.