Press Release – Counsel Runs Risks of Being Responsible for Coddling a Fugitive and for Obstruction of Justice
In today’s hearing in the case of the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, Atty. Narzal Mallares, one of Palparan’s lawyers, revealed in open court that Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan has been communicating with him every now and then.
“Palparan’s lawyer is risking charges of coddling a fugitive and for obstruction of justice by harbouring and not disclosing his whereabouts even if he claims that he has contact with him,” said Atty. Edre Olalia, one of the Private Prosecutors from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) handling the case, echoing the manifestation of the Public Prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DoJ).
In another breath, with his authority to represent Palparan questioned by the prosecutors as not evidenced by his client’s conformity, Palparan’s purported co-counsel, Atty. Jesus Santos, claimed that it was Palparan’s family and relatives who spoke with him to get him to represent the fugitive general.
And just when the judge was about to adjourn the hearing and to the surprise and chagrin of the prosecutors, Atty. Santos gratuitously claimed in open court and in the presence of Erlinda Cadapan, the mother of one of the victims Sherlyn, that he was informed by “some sources” that the two UP students were still alive. He concluded that, with his disclosure, there is no basis for the charges against Palparan.
But Atty. Santos refused to give any details and other information on this “revelation” even after the private prosecutors were coaxing him to do so.
“The bare and belated allegation of his purported co-counsel that the victims are still alive raised mixed feelings, at the very least” said Atty. Olalia. “If false, it is an insensitive, cruel and irresponsible claim designed to confuse and raise false hopes. It could be a cheap shot to incorrectly undermine the charges. But if true, which is good, it raises even more questions though,” Atty. Olalia added.
The charges against Maj. Gen. Palparan and three other military personnel are Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention. “The revelation of Atty. Santos will not have any legal effect to the charges already filed in court to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Atty. Olalia maintained. “Produce the students!,” he demanded. #
Reference: Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Secretary General, +639175113373
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