“Polygraph, Shrink for Executioner”

Jeannette Andrade reports for the Manila Times regarding the use of polygraphy in the Philippines in a high-profile terrorism case. Excerpt:

The man caught on video beheading Abu Sayyaf captives will go through a lie-detector test and psychiatric evaluation to determine if he qualifies as a state witness to pin down other executioners.

Jun Peñaflor, 32, a former farm worker in Basilan, submitted himself Thursday to the protective custody of the provincial police after the controversial tape was aired by TV networks.

Beheading at gunpoint

Peñaflor said he was forced by the Abu Sayyaf at gunpoint to behead fellow captives in 1995. Now he wants protection against possible vendetta from both Christians and Muslims.

Yesterday, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Leandro Mendoza said he gave orders to Police Regional Office 9 Director Chief Supt. Simeon Dizon to administer the tests to find out Peñaflor’s mental condition and determine the veracity of his story.

Mendoza said investigators have not finished the background check on Peñaflor, although his case has been referred to the Zamboanga City Prosecutor’s Office.

He said that although Peñaflor could be held liable for taking part in the execution of Abu Sayyaf captives, he could still make it as a state witness.

Justice Secretary Hernando Perez said murder charges would be filed against Peñaflor.

Malacañang is skeptical of Peñaflor’s story, noting that other executioners in the video were toting firearms. The Palace seemed to be supporting the Southern Command, which insists the farm worker was not forced into the act.

It is a mistake to place any reliance on the results of pseudoscientific polygraph “tests,” all the more so in such serious matters as determining the credibility of a key suspect and potential witness.

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