Lawyers group wants Bulacan court to recall Palparan transfer order
MANILA, Philippines—The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) asked the Malolos Regional Trial Court to recall the transfer of retired General Jovito Palparan from the Bulacan Provincial Jail to a military detention facility.
In a motion to transfer detention, the NUPL, led by Atty. Edre Olalia, said Palparan, being a retired military officer is already a civilian and there is no law or jurisprudence allowing a civilian to be detained in a military facility.
The NUPL represents the relatives of Palparan’s alleged victims Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, both student-activists from the University of the Philippines in Diliman who disappeared in 2006.
Palparan is facing a case for kidnaping and serious illegal detention for the disappearance of Cadapan and Empeño.
He was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation on Aug. 12, 2014, years after he went into hiding after a warrant for his arrest was issued in 2011.
From the NBI, his custody was transferred to the Bulacan Provincial Jail. But citing threats to his life, the court allowed his request that he be placed under the custody of the Philippine Army and stay in its detention facility.
But the NUPL said under Section 1 of Republic Act 7055, “members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other persons subject to military law, including members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units, who commit crimes or offenses penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special penal laws, or local government ordinances, regardless of whether or not civilians are co-accused, victims, or offended parties, which may be natural or juridical persons, shall be tried by the proper civil court…”
“Consistent with the narrowing of the scope and coverage of military law to those in active service, the general rule is that military law jurisdiction over officers, cadets, and others in the military service of the Philippines ceases on discharge or other separation from the service, and that jurisdiction as to an offense committed during the period of the service thus terminated is not reinstated by a reentry in the military service.
In this case, the motion stated that kidnapping with serious illegal detention under the Revised Penal Code is not covered by the Articles of War nor is the accused subject to military law.
“Considered a civilian charged under civilian law, it cannot be made plainer that allowing accused Palparan to stay in military detention is a treatment special if not extraordinary from that of others falling in the same classification,” the motion stated.
They added that the threat to Palparan’s life was also speculative considering that the defense has failed to present proof to substantiate the former general’s complaint.
“To support a choice of detention facility – as with any other decision in life – there must be validated, adequate, relevant, and objective data to invoke demons and ghosts from the past, real or imaginary to avoid the Spartan conditions, rigors and limitations of an ordinary civilian jail – and get away with it with impunity – is to thumb one’s nose against the justice system.”
“In light of the legal infirmities and the peculiar factual circumstances prevailing, the dangerous precedent Accused Palparan has set, and the lack of rational basis, it is our respectful submission that it behooves this Honorable Court to recall the military detention of Accused Palparan,” he added.
The court will conduct a hearing on Monday.