What went wrong why Margarita Valle’s arrest turns out a case of ‘mistaken identity’

IPIL, Philippines – Her colleagues in Davao City pointed out that she was not what her arresting officers thought she was but the combined team of government operatives alleged she was a ranking regional official of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). In the end, her friends knew her more.

Barely a day went by after Fedelina Margarita Avellanosa Valle, a veteran development worker and freelance writer, was arrested by virtue of warrant of arrests for “multiple murder and quadruple frustrated murder” and another one for arson, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said her arrest was that of a “mistaken identity.”

She has the “strong resemblance” of the suspect the personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) sought for but it was a mistake to have her arrested, Major Gen. Oscar Amador Corpus, chief of the PNP- (CIDG), said.

What went wrong?

In a statement sent to media, the CIDG said Elsa Renton, alias Tina Maglaya/ Fidelina Margarita Valle y Avellanosa, the 1st Deputy Secretary of Northeastern Mindanao Region of the outlawed CPP-NPA and formerly the 2nd Deputy Secretary of Western Mindanao Region.

Here was the catch: the warrants of arrest were for Renton, whom the government operatives said was the same person as Tina Maglaya/ Fidelina Margarita Valle y Avellanosa. They were wrong. Valle, the development worker and freelance writer, was not Renton, the ranking regional official of the outlawed CPP-NPA.

Valle, married with four children and two grandchildren, was a 1982 graduate of BA Communication Arts at the Ateneo de Davao University. She worked as a reporter of the Media Mindanao News Service in the 1980s until the media group ceased operations in 1996.

Valle was also a correspondent of Mr & Ms Special Edition until 1986.

She wrote for SunStar Davao as a columnist until 2018.

At present, she writes a column, Kanak Gamay na Kyatigaman (My Little Understanding) for Davao Today, an online news based in Davao City, as Fides Avellanosa.

Some of her previous work included several projects as a development worker.She was also into teaching and consultancy work.

Valle as Renton, the communist? No. The CIDG, barely 24 hours after the controversial arrest, walked free.

End of the story? No.

Valle’s son, Rius, told Rappler: “We will hold the CIDG accountable.” (Antonio M. Manaytay/ Mindanao Sun)

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