IBP lawyers willing to defend Palparan for free
MALOLOS, Bulacan—The Central Luzon chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said its members were offering their services for free to detained retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan who informed a court here last week that he could no longer afford to pay his lawyers.
Palparan is on trial for the kidnapping and illegal detention of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, who disappeared in 2006.
“A person who does not have a lawyer is entitled to a lawyer as part of due process,” said Jose de la Rama Jr., IBP Central Luzon governor, noting that the lack of a lawyer could delay Palparan’s trial.
De la Rama said Palparan would need to make a formal request for IBP assistance.
He explained, however, that a consensus from the chapter would still be needed before any request from Palparan could be granted. The IBP board of officers would also need to review the merits of Palparan’s request, to avoid any conflict of interest, De la Rama said in a text message.
“It is part of the mission of the IBP to provide lawyers to whoever is in need. We do not distinguish between personalities, we are only bound by the guidelines provided for by law. I’m sure lawyers from IBP Central Luzon will be challenged by his (Palparan’s) call for justice,” Rama said.
Palparan appeared without his lawyers, Narsal Mallares and Diosab Formilleza, at the Feb. 4 resumption of his trial at Branch 15 of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court.
He told Judge Alexander Tamayo that he relied mainly on his pension to support his family and that he could no longer afford to pay his lawyers.
The National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), which represents the families of Cadapan and Empeño, did not believe Palparan’s plea of poverty.
“After all his multiple motions and petitions in the Department of Justice, the RTC and the Court of Appeals have been correctly denied over the years, he is suddenly too poor to retain his private lawyers that endured him since day one? And yet he was not so poor to run for the Senate? Is this another pathetic stunt?” said NUPL secretary general Edre Olalia.
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.