Missing UP students tortured, sexually molested, witness tells court
MANILA, Philippines–They were hung upside down naked, tortured and sexually molested.
This was what witness Raymond Manalo on Monday told the Bulacan Regional Trial Court were done to missing University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan by their military captors allegedly under the command of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan.
Manalo is the first witness presented by the prosecution before the Bulacan RTC, which is conducting the trial on the kidnapping case filed against Palparan.
Manalo’s testimony, as narrated to reporters by lead Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera on Monday, described what Empeño and Cadapan went through while in detention.
“He (Manalo) was able to see how they were tortured and sexually molested. He said they were hung upside down naked and pieces of wood were inserted on the private parts of the two students,” Navera told reporters.
“He (Manalo) also said Cadapan told him that she was raped,” Navera added.
Manalo himself was abducted and tortured by the military on Feb. 14, 2006. He escaped on Aug. 12, 2007. Manalo and his brother were taken on suspicion that they were members of the communist party, Navera quoted Manalo as telling the court.
The testimony also said water and electric shock were used for torture, Navera said.
Navera added that Manalo was also able to positively identify Palparan as the one who talked to him on two instances, the first of which was at a basketball court in Bulacan where Palparan allegedly told him to “change his ways.”
Palparan is facing two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the abduction of Cadapan and Empeño. Palparan was the commanding general of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division at the time of the abduction.
While there was no testimony that Palparan participated in the torture of the two students, Navera said Manalo’s testimony clearly showed that he knew what his subordinates were doing.
“Palparan met with him twice. Obviously, he was the one responsible…We will not know what happened to the two if he [Manalo] was not able to escape,” Navera said.
Like Manalo, Cadapan and Empeño were abducted in 2006 and are missing up to this day.
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