Parents dare Palparan: Face us
The families of missing University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño dared fugitive retired general Jovito Palparan to turn himself in and face them.
They want to confront Palparan about a statement he made through his lawyer on Friday saying that he would not surrender because the missing students were still alive.
The two students have been missing since 2006.
Lawyer Edre Olalia, counsel of the Cadapan and Empeño families, said Palparan should “stop putting [his own] lawyers on the spot… [by making them] trifle with the emotions of suffering mothers [when they issue] recklessly bare claims that their young and abused daughters are still alive.”
Palparan’s lawyer, Jesus Santos, wrote the National Bureau of Investigation on Feb. 1 to say that the missing students were alive.
Palparan’s statement also said that the fugitive retired major general would “try [his] best not to surrender since the filing of the cases against [him] was done illegally.”
‘Come out of your hole’
In a text message on Saturday, Olalia berated Palparan: “Come out of your putrid sewage hole and see the light. Join your avid fan, former President GMA [Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] in jail. Stop putting your attorneys on the spot [to] take the fall for you.”
Olalia said the parents of the missing students had elected to endure “the tedious and even frustrating process [that is necessary] to hold him accountable.”
In another text message, Olalia said: “Palparan has the gall and temerity to claim that the charges against him were done illegally. That is farthest from the truth. He is turning things upside down. It is the height of hypocrisy to wrongly claim he is the victim when he is known to have routinely and cavalierly deprived many… of their basic rights as human beings, killed [people] summarily, [made people] disappear and tortured [them].”
Empeño was a sociology student who was studying the conditions of Bulacan farmers. Cadapan was a human kinetics student and a community organizer for the farmers’ group Alyansang Magbubukid ng Bulacan.
Gunmen reportedly seized Cadapan and Empeño from their rented house in Hagonoy, Bulacan, on June 26, 2006, along with a farmer, Manuel Merino.
In 2007, the Court of Appeals enforced a writ of amparo issued by the Supreme Court against the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The writ compelled the military to prove that it did not have the missing students in its custody.
In May 2011, the parents of the missing students sued Palparan and three soldiers for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
On Feb. 6, the Alyansa ng Mamamayan para sa Karapatan and other human-rights group mounted a “Jail Palparan Summit” at the Governance Center of the Bulacan provincial capitol while Palparan’s case was being heard at the Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Protesters put on display at the justice hall the names of more than a hundred kidnap and torture victims allegedly during Palparan’s term as commanding general of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division from 2005 to 2006.
Three other soldiers are facing kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges before the Bulacan RTC in connection with the 2006 disappearance of Cadapan and Empeño.
Along with Palparan, charges were filed against retired M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.
Anotado and Osorio surrendered to authorities a day after the Malolos court issued a warrant for their arrest while Palparan and Hilario went into hiding.
First posted 12:08 am | Sunday, February 12th, 2012