Duterte a Red-coddler, claims Palparan
CITY OF MALOLOS, Philippines—“The Butcher” has an unsolicited advice to “The Punisher”: Don’t run for President.
Retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., known for leading a brutal counterinsurgency campaign during his days in the military, said on Wednesday that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should not seek the presidency because of his close association with the “enemy of the state.”
“He is a supporter of the New People’s Army (NPA). He is one of the biggest supporters of the NPA among local officials. For me, Duterte should not run [for President],” Palparan told the Inquirer after a hearing for his bail petition in a case involving the disappearance of two University of the Philippines students in 2006.
Palparan, along with three soldiers, is standing trial for the disappearance of Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in June that year. The two UP students have not been found.
The former commander of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division, Palparan is called “The Butcher” by human rights advocates who accuse him of responsibility for the killing, torture and disappearance of political activists in areas where he was assigned.
Palparan said he saw no problem with Duterte negotiating with communist rebels when there was a crisis, but the mayor’s support for the NPA was another issue.
“[Duterte’s support for communist rebels was] very evident during the death of Kumander Parago,” Palparan said.
Duterte has acknowledged his friendship with Parago, or Lencio Pitao, one of the most wanted NPA leaders in the country, who was killed by government forces in a raid on (village) Barangay Panialum, Paquibato district, in Davao City, on June 28.
Duterte allowed a hero’s burial for Pitao in Davao.
“[Kumander Parago] was a leader in the Tagum massacre. He killed many people and for (Duterte) to be closely associated with Parago, who was declared enemy of the state, is not good,” Palparan said.
Duterte, whom Time magazine called “The Punisher” for his no-nonsense leadership in Davao, had said he would not run for President.
Recently, however, he asked his supporters to give him more time to review his decision.
When asked, Palparan said he would not support any presidential candidate.
“I think they are all equal,” he said, referring to Malacañang hopefuls Sen. Grace Poe, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Palparan, a former Bantay party-list representative, said in court on Wednesday that he would run for the Senate in next year’s national elections.
He has been detained at the Army Custodial Center in Fort Bonifacio since his arrest in Sta. Mesa, Manila, in 2014.
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