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Witness: Missing UP coed pregnant

New testimony in case vs Palparan bares more details about abduction

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CITY OF MALOLOS—Sherlyn Cadapan, one of the two missing University of the Philippines students abducted allegedly by government soldiers in 2006, was three-months pregnant when she went missing, her mother-in-law told the court here on Monday.

The parents of Sherlyn and Karen Empeño have accused retired Major General Jovito Palparan and three other military officials of abducting their daughters on June 26, 2006, in Hagonoy, Bulacan.

Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and Staff Sargent Edgardo Osorio are undergoing trial in the Bulacan Regional Trial Court for kidnapping. Palparan and a fourth suspect, M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, are in hiding.

Adoracion Paulino, a prosecution witness, testified that Sherlyn was married to her son, Valentino, and was pregnant when she disappeared.

On Tuesday, Erlinda Cadapan, the missing student’s mother, confirmed Paulino’s testimony.

In a telephone interview, Erlinda said Sherlyn, who was 28 when she went missing, had informed her younger sister that she had undergone a prenatal checkup the night before she and Empeño disappeared.

“Mommy will soon have another grandchild,” Erlinda quoted Sherlyn’s conversation with her sister.

Erlinda said she fears that Sherlyn may have lost her child, after the first prosecution witness, Raymond Manalo, testified last year that he saw soldiers torture the two UP students.

In an affidavit, Paulino, a resident of Calumpit town, said her son married Sherlyn in 2005. Valentino is a farmer and met Sherlyn in 2005 in the course of the UP student’s interaction with a farming community in Calumpit.

Paulino said Sherlyn and Empeño attended a village feast in her town on June 15, and stayed until June 18.

On June 26, she learned that the two students disappeared.

Paulino testified that she again saw Sherlyn on April 11, 2007, almost a year after Sherlyn went missing.

Sherlyn had gone to Paulino’s home to get clothes and was accompanied by two women, she told the court.

“Sherlyn was wearing a dirty shirt, a pair of pants and slippers. She was frail, tanned and was dirty, and her skin was dry … I knew she was three-months pregnant … I don’t know if she gave birth or if she suffered a miscarriage because she was so thin. This is the last thing she said: ‘Mother, my path has changed, I have a different destination now,’” Paulino said in her affidavit written in Filipino.

“[Paulino’s] testimony connects dots [and are like putting together] jigsaw puzzles,” said Edre Olalia, who represents the families of the missing students.

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Tags: human rights violations in the Philippines , military abuses , News , Regions

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