‘Too little, too late’
Hike in bounty for Palparan, other fugitives draws flakBy Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Empty tokenism.
Human rights lawyer Edre Olalia has regarded President Aquino’s doubling of reward for the capture of retired Army major general Jovito Palparan Jr. in this light.
“At first blush, it seems to be a positive step and should be welcomed by everyone desperate to see that justice is done. But ultimately, it is not key or decisive,” said Olalia, counsel of the parents of missing University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were abducted in Bulacan in 2006.
“The amount and the move are still too little and too late and are empty tokenism especially with the continuing killings, disappearances and other rights violations and impunity,” Olalia said.
“As long as he is coddled by people who sympathize with his warped sense of duty and right and as long as P-Noy desists and defaults from clear, strong and decisive use of his broad and extensive powers and resources to seriously and doggedly run against rights violators, Palparan will continue to thumb his nose while playing golf.”
The families of the abducted students also said the increase in the bounty was useless.
“They do not need to raise the reward. What they need is to arrest him immediately,” Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn, said.
Concepcion Empeño, mother of Karen, echoed the sentiment.
“If Malacañang said they are not happy that the fugitives have not been arrested, we are all the more dismayed. However, we think that the raise in the bounty is useless if they will not look for them. What they should do is to exert all efforts to genuinely look for them,” Empeño said.
Lawyer Ricardo Diaz, director of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Luzon, said the seven-month search for Palparan, dubbed by activists as “butcher,” had yielded negative results.
A lot of money
Diaz said the P2 million “is a lot of money and would encourage informants to come out.” “Hopefully we will receive new information to work on. Please tell people to contact us. We will drop everything to work on leads they will provide. We will protect their identities,” he said.
Two of Palparan’s coaccused, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, are detained at Fort Bonifacio. Another soldier, M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, remains at large.
Housing developer Delfin Lee is also the subject of Malacañang’s bounty, but his lawyer, Willie Rivera, said it was an “inappropriate” response from President Aquino.
Lee’s Globe Asiatique was able to obtain some P7 billion in housing loans from Pag-Ibig by allegedly using fictitious buyers and fraudulent documents.
Aside from Palparan and Lee, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and Dinagat Rep. Ruben Ecleo have also gone into hiding.
Reyes and his brother Mario Reyes were charged for the murder of environmentalist-broadcaster Gerry Ortega in 2011 while Ecleo was found guilty for the murder of his wife.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former fugitive himself, on Friday gave the Philippine National Police a tip on how to catch these high-profile wanted persons.
“My advice to the PNP is simple and practical—eat their targets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including weekends and holidays. Then and only then I can be pretty sure they will succeed in arresting them,” Lacson said in a statement.
Lacson, who headed the PNP from 1999 to 2001, criticized the country’s law enforcement agencies for “doing nothing” in the hunt for Palparan and the other fugitives. With reports from Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon; Philip Tubeza and Norman Bordadora