DAVAO CITY – A human rights group said the promotion of what they call as “present-day Palparan” Army generals by President Benigno Aquino III is an “affirmation of the regime’s policy of war against the discontented Filipino people.”
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said the move is “akin to former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s acclamation of retired General Jovito Palparan during her State of the Nation Address in 2006.” Palparan has earned the moniker, the Butcher, from human rights activists who believe he has hand in cases of disappearance, abduction, and killing of militant activists in the country.
Aquino promoted Lieutenant General Hernando Iriberri as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Friday, vacating the position of the Army chief.
Palabay said Aquino is “assigning either Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya or Eduardo Año as Philippine Army chief.”
“These three generals are the present-day Palparans and they have blood on their hands,” said Palabay.
Palabay said that since 2014 to present, Karapatan has documented several “Palparan-style human rights abuses, which includes extrajudicial killing, disappearances, illegal arrests, torture, hamletting, and forcible evacuation of civilians in Mindanao where Año as commander of the 10th Infantry Division.”
Palabay said that Año “was exonerated from the charges filed by Edita Burgos on the disappearance of her son Jonas.” Karapatan suspects “a form of whitewash” on the case.
Palabay said Visaya’s assumption as 4th Infantry Division commander in Mindanao also resulted in the same pattern of human rights violations.
According to Karapatan, Visaya is responsible for the 2004 bloody massacre of 12 farm workers in Hacienda Luisita and the abduction and torture of farmers Manuel Meriño, Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo and UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.
Palabay said Visaya is also “responsible fore the urban militarization of communities in the National Capital Region in 2006 to 2007, immediately before the national elections.”
“Iriberri, as Army chief, led the whole (Army) in perpetrating rights abuses and violations of the international humanitarian law across the country, especially in Mindanao,” said Palabay.
Palabay said that as chief of the 503rd Infantry Battalion assigned in Abra, “he even praised his men who won battles against members of the New People’s Army despite violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.” “Such is the case of the firefight in Lacub, Abra, in September 2014 where the eight NPA fighters killed bore torture marks and civilians were killed. Gen. Iriberri even awarded the soldiers with medals of valor,” Palabay said.
Karapatan said that under the Aquino administration, there are 262 documented victims of extrajudicial killings and 293 victims of frustrated killings; and more than 60,000 persons displaced and dislocated due to military combat operations in the countryside (data as of June 30, 2015). (davaotoday.com)