Tearful Palparan ends military career
- James Mananghaya () - September 12, 2006 - 12:00am
Controversial Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, called the "butcher" by some militant groups, finally showed his soft spot when he shed tears as more than 1,000 supporters bid farewell to him upon his retirement yesterday.

The sight of Palparan crying caught everybody by surprise during the testimonial parade held in his honor at the Army headquarters at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, wherein the traditional military protocol was broken when Palparan invited hundreds of his anti-communist supporters carrying placards in support of him.

The event was also attended by top military officials and soldiers, Palparan’s wife Evangeline, their three children Macy, JC and Martin, and also their pet dogs Bullet and Cloud.

In his speech while recounting his exploits as a young Army lieutenant in Mindanao, Palparan shed tears when he paid tribute to his fellow soldiers who died in clashes with the Moro National Liberation Front.

"I never forget military field decisions that often involve the lives of soldiers and the other combatants. All have loved ones, each and every soul in the battlefield. The sense of Rambo is good on films. But the tears of widows, the sobs of orphans, are excruciating in real life, gnawing one’s peace when you know reaching out could have prevented shootouts," he said.

Palparan said he does not even boast of inflicting casualties on their enemies, because they too, are victims.

"Humihingi ako ng paumanhin sa mga nawalan ng anak at asawa. Kaya nga dapat matigil na itong labanang ito," he said.

Palparan said he decided to hold the turnover of command of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division to Maj. Gen. Juanito Gomez at the Army headquarters at Fort Bonifacio instead of Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, to show that many people support him and that he is not a "dead man walking" as claimed by communist rebels, who earlier threatened to punish him for his "blood debts to the people."

His supporters came from Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan and carried placards emblazoned with the words "Ibagsak ang CPP-NPA," "Ibagsak ang Bayan Muna, Anakpawis," and "Gen. Palparan, Martir ng Kapayapaan."

Palparan said that the overwhelming support he got from local officials and civilians in these provinces only proves that there are a lot of people who refuse to be intimidated by the communist New People’s Army.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, who led the turnover ceremonies, said Gomez would benefit much if he follows the footsteps of his predecessor.

Gomez vowed to continue what Palparan has started in the 7th ID, which has jurisdiction over Central Luzon. He also asked for the support of the people similar to their support for his predecessor.

The retired Palparan will now wait for his appointment to a government post once President Arroyo returns from her trip to Europe and Cuba.

Malacañang had earlier announced that Palparan has been appointed deputy National Security Adviser (NSA), but the Palace later made a turnaround and said that the appointment is not yet final.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales also said that the next deputy NSA will be retired Lt. Gen. Pedro Cabuay and not Palparan.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, however, assured the people that nobody has yet been appointed as deputy NSA.

Ermita said the people should wait for the return of Mrs. Arroyo who will make the final appointment.

"Let us wait for her decision. Let’s avoid speculating. Ang panawagan ko lang ay huwag nating pagsabungin yung dalawa (Palparan and Cabuay) kasi wala naman personal na alitan," Ermita said.

Meanwhile, an improvised explosive device was discovered near the Army parade grounds where the testimonial parade for Palparan was being held.

The bomb consisting of C-4 powder, M-79 and Mark-3A1 grenades which were connected to two nine-volt batteries, was found by street sweepers on Bayani Road at Fort Bonifacio near the parade grounds.

Members of the Army’s Ordnance and Explosive Division dismantled the bomb.

Security was tight inside Fort Bonifacio and other vital installations as the world commemorated the 5th anniversary of the terror attacks in the US.

In a statement, NPA spokesman Rogelio "Ka Roger" Rosal called Palparan a coward and vowed to retaliate against the general for his crimes against the people.

"The Filipino people demand that Maj. Gen. Palparan be made to account for his long list of fascist crimes against the people," Rosal said.With Aurea Calica, Katherine Adraneda, Jaime Laude

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