DAVAO CITY , Philippines – Families of human rights victims hit out the Armed Forces of the Philippines for deferring retired Major General Jovito Palparan’s transfer to New Bilibid Prison (NBP), two weeks after he was found guilty over the enforced disappearance of student activists Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006.
In its statement, human rights group Hustiya hit the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for “coddling” Palparan at the Philippine Army Custodial Center in Fort Bonifacio, where the former general was detained since he was arrested in 2014.
“The AFP is obviously making excuses whatever they can to keep their beloved general, a criminal and human rights violator, in their turf. The court decision is the commitment order itself.” Evangeline Hernandez, chairperson of Hustisya said.
On September 17, the Malolos Bulacan, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 15 found Palparan, and co-accused Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention and was sentenced to reclusión perpetua or life imprisonment.
But Hernandez argued that Palparan “should be brought to NBP the soonest. He has enjoyed years of special treatment at Fort Bonifacio, it’s time that justice be served at the fullest by treating him like a common criminal.”
Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn Cadapan, said Palparan should be not be treated differently to other ordinary prisoners who were immediately transferred to NBP upon conviction.
“The delay of his transfer at the NBP reeks of special treatment. He has been proven guilty, and as long as he remains in an army camp, that is impunity.” Cadapan said.
“They have wronged us since the day they took our daughters and disappeared them without a trace. We are calling on all those who supported us in this fight for justice to join the call to jail Palparan at NBP,” Concepcion Empeno said.
The AFP argued that there is a pending case before the Malolos RTC Branch 19 where the commitment order puts him in the Army Custodial Center. They are also waiting for the resolution to the motion for reconsideration filed by Palparan’s lawyers and motion to defer the implementation of the order to transfer Palparan.
Earlier, AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said that once this is resolved, the AFP will comply to the order of relevant court.
For its part, the National Union of the Philippines (NUPL) said that Palparan and his military coddlers and lawyers are “running circles around the judicial system and taunting civilian supremacy over the military by stalling his transfer on flimsy and nonsensical grounds bordering on brazen contempt of court.”
“Such latest dilatory tactics undermine & mock law and justice by hiding and tagging behind the military skirt. Who is his protector and handler for him to deserve such extraordinary privilege and to be accorded special treatment?” NUPL said.(davaotoday.com)