“He [Palparan] should be imprisoned immediately, along with GMA, Abalos, all of them who are shameless. They all should spend Christmas in jail.” – Mrs. Concepcion Empeño
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – The mothers of the two missing students of the University of the Philippines (UP) are enraged over the attempt of retired Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. to leave the country this morning.
Exactly four days ago, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a resolution implicating Palparan, then commanding officer of the 7th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and three of his men into the disappearance of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.
According to reports, Palparan tried to go to Singapore around 7:30 a.m. on board a Seair flight but was prevented by immigration officials.
“Why would he escape? This only proves all the more that he is guilty of many crimes,” Mrs. Concepcion Empeño, mother of Karen, told Bulatlat.com in a phone interview.
Mrs. Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn, deemed the same. “He attempted to flee because he knows he has committed crimes against the people. He is afraid to be put behind bars for he knows that we have a strong case against him,” Mrs. Cadapan said in a phone interview.
In a 36-page resolution, the DOJ panel of prosecutors investigating the incident found “probable cause” to charge Palparan, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Master Sergeant Rizal Hilario, and Staff Sergeant Edgardo Osorio with two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in connection with the abduction of the two UP students on June 26, 2006.
Human rights group Karapatan hailed the DOJ resolution, saying this is the first time that Palparan would be held liable amid the many cases of extrajudicial killings of activists he was implicated in.
“He has no shame. He even said before that there was no need to place him under the watchlist order because he would not go abroad. What did he just do now?” Mrs. Empeño said further. “The court should [order the] arrest of Palparan and cohorts today, not tomorrow or any other day before he tries to escape again.”
Meanwhile, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) that serves as counsels for the mothers, also called for Palparan’s immediate arrest.
“The poster boy of GMA[Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo]-sanctioned heinous rights violations is obviously pulling a fast one again. He has been lying through his teeth for the longest time and everything that comes out of his mouth is a barefaced lie. .. He is as remorseless as he is cunning and arrogant. This latest stunt patently shreds off any of his pretensions,” Edre U. Olalia, NUPL secretary general, said.
For its part, Desaperacidos, an organization of relatives of victims of enforced disappearances, called on the public to report the whereabouts of Palparan to DOJ if by chance they see him.
Mrs. Cadapan said it is the responsibility of government to ensure that Palparan would not escape. “Palparan should not be allowed to escape. Justice is partly served and the government must prove its seriousness in curbing impunity,” Mrs. Cadapan said.