Court says Jovito Palparan can’t leave jail
CITY OF MALOLOS—A Bulacan court has rejected a bid by a former Army general jailed for the disappearance of two University of the Philippines (UP) students to leave his cell to file a certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator.
In a ruling on Friday on a plea made by Jovito Palparan, Judge Alexander Tamayo, of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court, yesterday denied the retired major general’s request to leave his cell and file his COC for senator.
This was the second time Tamayo turned down Palparan’s request to be allowed to get out of the Philippine Army Custodial Center in Fort Bonifacio to pursue his political ambition.
On Oct. 7, the court rejected Palparan’s request to leave his cell to amend his voter’s registration records and submit his biometrics information.
The court said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) can install satellite service areas in detention cells for inmates.
Palparan is standing trial for the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.
Palparan can send a representative instead to file his COC, said lawyer Elmo Duque, Bulacan election supervisor. But Duque said Palparan would not be able to vote, not even for himself, if he failed to undergo biometrics validation.
In his Oct. 7 ruling, Tamayo said the Comelec has rules to allow inmates to register as voter or file COCs “without leaving their detention facilities.”
The judge said Palparan’s request was rejected “after a judicious assessment of the arguments.”
Tamayo said Palparan should address to the Comelec his petition to revise his voter’s records.
The judge said Fort Bonifacio jail officials should coordinate with the Comelec if it was feasible to have Palparan revise his voter’s record and register as a candidate in jail “within the most opportune time available.”
In his ruling, Tamayo also denied a similar motion filed by Narzal Mallares, Palparan’s lawyer, on behalf of retired Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, who are also standing trial for the kidnapping of Empeño and Cadapan. The two soldiers are also detained in Fort Bonifacio.
Anotado and Osorio had asked permission to visit the Comelec office in Taguig City and Makati City to submit their biometrics information.
Tamayo’s decision cited arguments raised by the families of Empeño and Cadapan, who protested Palparan’s petitions to be allowed to leave his cell.
Lawyer Edre Olalia, the families’ counsel, said it is the Comelec’s duty to provide detainees the chance to amend their voter information via satellite registration centers.
The families also said Palparan is a “flight risk…who cannot be trusted.”
“It can be remembered that the accused went into hiding for nearly three years,” said the families, through Olalia.
“Granting the accused’s unmeritorious request will likely open the floodgates to other trivial and trifling excuses to temporarily leave jail,” the families said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.