Palparan may stay where he is, court rules
CITY OF MALOLOS, Philippines—A court here denied Monday the petition filed by the parents of two missing University of the Philippines students seeking the transfer of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. from military detention to a regular jail in Metro Manila.
Judge Teodora Gonzales of RTC (Regional Trial Court) Branch 14 here denied the petition, which was filed by lawyer Edre Olalia, after the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) prosecutors did not sign a motion saying the agency agreed with the position of the private prosecutors regarding Palparan’s detention.
“The petition to transfer to a civilian jail is therefore denied as there is no conformity given by the public prosecutor,” Gonzales said.
Palparan, who is facing kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges in connection with the 2006 disappearance of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in Bulacan, is being held at the Philippine Army Custodial Center in Fort BonifacioTaguig City.
He was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation on Aug. 12 and has been detained at the Bulacan Provincial Jail for almost a month.
On Sept. 15, the court granted Palparan’s motion to be transferred to the custody of the military, citing security concerns and threats to his life while at the provincial jail here.
The lawyers representing the families of Cadapan and Empeño said Palparan, the former commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija, should not be under military custody as he might be given special treatment.
They asked that Palparan be transferred to a civilian jail, “particularly the Security Intensive Care Area (Sica) of the Metro Manila Jail District, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, or any of the other facilities managed by the [BJMP] inside Camp Bagong Diwa: the Taguig City Jail, Quezon City Jail Annex or Manila City Jail.”
Supporters of Empeño and Cadapan, and of Palparan again gathered at the provincial capitol compound, where the Justice Hall is located, during Palparan’s appearance in court on Monday.
Gonzales on Monday set for Dec. 8 the hearing for Palparan’s petition for bail. The court also set the preliminary conference for the case on Oct. 27 and pre-trial on Nov. 24.
“They (public prosecutors) just ‘noted’ our motion during the last hearing. Today, they manifested that they cannot give their conforme, as instructed by Justice Secretary (Leila de Lima),” Olalia said in a text message to the Inquirer.
Olalia, who is also secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), said that despite the setback, the Cadapan and Empeño families and their lawyers will pursue the motion.–Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon
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