Oban orders study of military’s probe
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Oban Jr. has ordered a review of the military’s investigation of the abduction and disappearance of two University of the Philippines students and a farmer in 2006 allegedly by military agents under retired Major General Jovito Palparan Jr.
Oban said they would cooperate in any legal proceeding ordered by the Supreme Court in the case of missing UP student-activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño and farmer Manuel Merino.
“We shall extend our usual cooperation to legal authorities,” he added.
The high tribunal has ordered the AFP to “immediately release” the three who were abducted by armed men in Hagonoy, Bulacan on June 26, 2006 after it found Palparan, three military officers, an enlisted personnel and a paramilitary member, liable for their disappearance.
But an Army spokesperson insisted that Cadapan, Empeño and Merino were not in their custody and denied involvement in their abduction.
Oban said he ordered Colonel Domingo Tutaan, head of the newly-created AFP Human Rights Office, to review the military’s past action on the case.
“I called Sonny (Tutaan) of the Human Rights Office (Thursday) to revisit and review the investigation pertinent to the two missing students (and farmer). I told him to coordinate with the (AFP) Provost Marshal and the Judge Advocate General so we’ll know the next steps in consideration of the Supreme Court ruling,” Oban said when interviewed Friday on the sidelines of a Philippine Air Force symposium.
Oban said the Supreme Court’s conclusion that Palparan and his men were liable affects the AFP’s declared policy under the new internal peace and security plan Bayanihan to uphold human rights in all military operations.
“Although this happened five years ago still it impacts on our advocacy. We maintain a no-torture policy,” he said.
The Supreme Court said Palparan, Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado, Lieutenant Colonel Rogelio Boac, Lieutenant Francis Mirabelle Samson, alleged Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit member Arnel Enriquez and Master Sergeant Donald Caigas shall remain the accused in future petitions because they were found responsible for the abduction and detention.
According to the military, only Lieutenant Samson remains in active service. He is currently assigned to the Security Escort Battalion. Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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