MANILA, Jan. 17, 2012—Fisherfolk group, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) dared Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo to name the ex-generals allegedly harboring, now fugitive, retired Maj. Gen. Jovito S. Palparan, for the sake of public interest and safety.
In a statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Palparan poses a serious threat to the public since the former general is “armed and dangerous.” He also urged the secretary to file necessary charges against the generals and other military men that harbor the retired Army officer.
The DILG and Department of Justice had already released a one million peso reward to anyone who can give the exact whereabouts of Palparan, who is accused of serious illegal detention and kidnapping in connection with the abduction of two University of the Philippines-Diliman students, Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan. The two went missing in 2006, during the height of anti-insurgency campaign launched by the former administration of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Last December, the Malolos City court had issued a warrant of arrest against Palparan and three others namely retired M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado at S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, who are also allegedly involved in kidnapping and torturing the two girls.
Meanwhile, Migrante International chapters in different parts of the world had also alerted their members and allies to keep watch, if ever Palparan would appear in the countries where they are working.
In the Middle East, Migrante regional director John Leonard Monterona said that Palparan could have escaped already since the ex-military officer had a number of connections in the bureaucracy.
“He is a very dangerous man, having killed and tortured lots of innocent people, in the name of national security,” Monterona said in an email.
Last December 27, Migrante Middle East had called for a “global manhunt” against Palparan, telling OFWs to report to the pertinent authorities if they have spotted the ex-general and lawmaker in their respective areas.
In the Philippines, a people’s manhunt had also been launched by different human rights’ groups such as Hustisya, Karapatan, Tanggol Bayi, to name a few to speed up Palparan’s capture. Even the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chapters all over the Philippines have been alerted to keep an eye on the general.
“Retired Major General Jovito Palparan’s attempt to flee the country clearly illustrates how he, like former Pres. Gloria Arroyo and other notorious human rights violators, have tried to evade justice and accountability, once again, for their crimes against the victims and the people for the longest time during their reign in office. This mad dog should immediately be arrested and put to jail,” said Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Tanggol Bayi, a group of women human rights’ defenders, in a statement.
In order to ensure safety of the complainants, the group wants to transfer the case in one of the courts in Metro Manila.
“We likewise demand for the change of venue of court proceedings hereon from the Malolos Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) to an RTC in Metro Manila because of security risks being faced by the complainants, witnesses and lawyers in an area where the military has active presence and where the abduction of the two women human rights defenders took place,” she said.
Aside from the serious illegal detention and kidnapping, the parents of Cadapan and Empeño had also filed rape, serious physical injuries, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats, and grave coercion before the DOJ last May 2011, against the hiding general. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]