Military helping Palparan, says international rights group

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MANILA, Philippines—An international human rights watchdog said Wednesday it has information that sympathetic Philippine military personnel were thwarting attempts by civilian authorities to capture retired Major General Jovito Palparan accused of kidnapping two student activists.

Palparan has been on the run since he was charged in December with kidnapping two left-wing students from the University of the Philippines in 2006. The students remain missing.

Palparan, a former congressman who was close to former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has denied any involvement. He is the highest-ranking military official to face allegations of abuse that human rights groups say has long been tolerated in the Philippines.

Rights groups and a UN investigator have blamed security forces for the deaths and disappearances of about 1,000 activists between 2001 and 2010, when Arroyo was president.

Human Rights Watch said civilian officials told the group that Palparan is being protected by some military personnel and business owners who benefited from his heavy-headed tactics to suppress a long-running communist insurgency.

“There are concerns that the military may be interfering in the civilian judicial process,” the New York-based watchdog said in a statement.

Military officials have denied allegations of sheltering Palparan and two soldiers accused with him, and they have promised to cooperate in the investigation against them. In December, however, a group of active and retired military officials publicly defended Palparan and warned that his prosecution was causing “demoralization in the soldiers’ ranks.”

The other soldiers charged, Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Antado and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, have surrendered. A court has allowed them to be transferred from civilian to military custody despite protestation from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who said the army failed to inform her where the two are being held, or if they are confined at all.

The conservative military has often acted as an influential power broker, and its members have launched several coup attempts since 1986.

The deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, called on President Benigno Aquino III to put officers and soldiers on notice “that if they block civilian authorities in arresting Palparan, they too face legal consequences.”

“President Aquino should get the message to the military that the years of protecting Palparan for grievous abuses are over,” she said.

Aquino’s government has said it wants justice for the missing students, Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, as part of a push to improve the Philippines’ human rights record after a decade of rampant abuses during Arroyo’s administration. Arroyo gave the military a free hand in what it had called an all-out war against communist rebels.

About 5,000 rural-based communist guerrillas known as the New People’s Army continue to attack military and police outposts, extort money and raid business establishments it accuses of exploiting workers. It is listed by US and European governments as a terrorist organization, but has been engaged in peace talks with the Philippine government.

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  • antonioluna

    hindi ko linalahat ng nakauniporme pero sigurado ako na ang nagkakanlong kay palpa-run ay kapwa nya mamamatay estudyante at ang mga kaya patayin lamang ay yaong mga walang laban. subukan mong ilaban ang palpa-run na ito sa mga intsik na naghahari harian sa west philippine sea malamang bigla pa itong magdefect at kumampi sa mga intsik dahil sa takot.

  • Manuel_II

    We are fighting a war to eradicate communism in our country, this should stop, we should follow what the Sri Lankan Government have done against the Tamil Tiger rebels, ALL OUT WAR, and now they are enjoying their peace.

    Death to Communism, Death to all Communist Pigs !!!

    tell the HR Groups, screw you… LOL

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YAU43R25CAHGNYPHE6HLAM3V6Y Benjamin

      ang tapang mo..ikaw kaya ang sumugod…buhay ang pinag-uusapan dito…ikaw ano ang nakataya sa iyo? dila mo  ?

      • Manuel_II

         Another Communist pig, give us a break and die, die PIG!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NTD5NB75GZFZ2F4NZNMIBNYBQQ Diesel

    kung walang tumutulong dyan na mga taga AFP at mga politicians, nahuli na yan…baka pati nga yung nanghuhuli, nagbubulag bulagan din…

  • kulkat8

    go bring your human rights fight to China and North Korea.  The Ph is just defending itself against a group that aims to destroy its democratic way of life.

  • BOYPANOT

    Gen. PALPARAN  is the Best Soldier & FREEDOM FIGHTER d nyo kayang hanapin yan… sya ang titigbag sa GOBYERNO n ABNOY  at ng mga Diktador na mga maka comunista.. GISING BAYAN

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