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Palparan: This fight I cannot win

Dino Balabo - The Philippine Star

MALOLOS CITY, Philippines – Jovito Palparan, hailed by a number of his colleagues as a courageous military officer, believes that this time he is in a fight that he can’t win.

The retired Army major general, whose military command once included this city and the rest of Bulacan province, said he could not expect fairness from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Palparan said he was the one who exposed that De Lima is a cousin of Juliet de Lima, the wife of Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison and herself a ranking member of the CPP.

“Wala akong laban dito (I don’t stand a chance here),” Palparan told The STAR yesterday in a 40-minute interview, his first since being detained at the Bulacan Provincial Jail here.

Nine similar cases for kidnapping and serious illegal detention have been filed against him and dismissed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Palparan pointed out.

But “if the system is against you,” he said, “they can do anything.”

Kidnapping cases filed against military officers in connection with their work usually allows bail, he said. In his case, the Malolos City regional trial court has ordered him held without bail in the provincial jail.

Palparan and three other military officers are facing charges of kidnapping with arbitrary detention in connection with the abduction of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherilyn Cadapan on June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy town.

Witnesses alleged that the two students were tortured and raped by soldiers. Palparan headed the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija at the time. He has denied involvement in the case.

The two students are still missing.

There is no case against him, Palparan insisted yesterday: “Kung tutuusin, wala akong kaso.”

“This is the work of Secretary Leila de Lima,” he said.

He claimed that the DOJ chief got mad after he exposed her ties to Sison’s wife.

Palparan, who is citing threats to his life in asking for detention in a military facility, shares a cell in the provincial jail with the oldest inmate.

Dubbed “The Butcher” by left-wing militants, Palparan seems to be taking to life as a jailbird and is starting to make friends among fellow inmates.

BULACAN PROVINCIAL JAIL COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES DE LIMA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INFANTRY DIVISION JOSE MA JOVITO PALPARAN JUSTICE SECRETARY LEILA KAREN EMPE PALPARAN
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