CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has not given up the search for and arrest of retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan as ordered by a Bulacan judge in December 2011 for the abduction of two University of the Philippines students in Bulacan in 2006.
“These are continuing,” lawyer Jojo Yap, NBI Central Luzon director, told the Inquirer on Tuesday. “We pursue all available leads.”
The former NBI regional director, lawyer Ricardo Diaz, issued an apology as the hunt for Palparan went unsuccessful under his watch.
Palparan was last seen on Dec. 19, 2011, at the Clark International Airport where Bureau of Immigration personnel stopped him from boarding a plane for a supposed vacation in Singapore.
Later that day, Judge Teodora Gonzales of the Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in Bulacan ordered Palparan’s arrest for the abduction of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in Hagonoy town in 2006.
Palparan had opposed the filing of abduction charges, saying these were not heard during the preliminary investigation.
Diaz gave the reasons Palparan had evaded arrest although President Aquino had increased the reward for his capture to P2 million. “Being security-conscious is his way of life ever since he was in the military service. He knows our intelligence means and methods and knows how to avoid making mistakes,” Diaz told the Inquirer in a previous interview.
Diaz also said the fugitive military official “has got a lot of friends.”
Palparan retired in 2006 as head of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. After his retirement, he managed security firms for mining companies and represented the party-list group Bantay in Congress. There is no information if Palparan is still in the country.—Tonette Orejas and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon