Court sentences Palparan to life
ON SEPTEMBER 17, Philippine Army Ret. Gen. Jovito Palparan, together with two co-accused former military officials, were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Malolos Regional Trial Court over the abduction and enforced disappearance of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño on July 2006.
The ruling issued by Judge Alexander Tamayo states that Palparan, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr., and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Empeño and Cadapan. Another accused, M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, who is still at large, was ordered arrested. The accused were sentenced to “reclusion perpetua” or life imprisonment.
It has been 12 years since Empeño and Cadapan were abducted by military operatives in Hagonoy, Bulacan.
Empeño and Cadapan’s mothers dubbed the ruling as an “initial victory.” They said that even if Palparan and his cohorts were convicted, their daughters have yet to be surfaced, and justice has yet to be served to many other victims of murder and human rights violations perpetrated by the butchers.
Concepcion Empeño and Erlinda Cadapan, Karen and Sherlyn’s mothers respectively, are perturbed by the possibility that Rodrigo Duterte may grant Palparan a presidential pardon as he was the the favorite general of Gloria Arroyo who is the currently the House Speaker and a close ally of Duterte.
Palparan is notorious not only as butcher but also as the “poster boy” of the bloody Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) 1 and 2 of the Arroyo regime.
Palparan left a blood trail wherever he was deployed. Under his command, Palparan rabidly directed extrajudicial killings in Mindoro, Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon. On top of Empeño and Cadapan’s enforced disappearance, he was also responsible for the murder of activist leader Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy in Mindoro in 2013, UCCP Pastor Edison Lapuz and Atty. Fedelito Dacut in Leyte in 2005, and Supreme Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in Tarlac in 2006.
Various progressive organization issued statements expressing their solidarity with the victims’ families and their resolute call for justice for all the victims of human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Phililippines, and demand to hold House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo accountable as mastermind of the OBL.
The Communist Party of the Philippines said that with the conviction of Palparan, the Filipino people must be further emboldened to demand justice and an end to Oplan Kapayapaan, martial law and all other fascist schemes of the US-Duterte regime.
The fight and resistance against the said fascists must be resolutely strengthened by mobilizing all revolutionary forces to achieve justice.