Bring convicted kidnapper Palparan to Bilibid, victims' moms cry

Bring convicted kidnapper Palparan to Bilibid, victims' moms cry
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan pictured at Regional RTC in Malolos as he leaves following his promulgation on Monday. He was found guilty of kidnapping and illegal detention over the disappearance of 2 University of the Philippines students in 2006.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The mothers of Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan—students and activists who disappeared in Bulacan in 2006—said that military officials should be cited in contempt for the Army’s continued custody of convicted kidnapper and retired general Jovito Palparan Jr.

In a statement sent through rights group Hustisya, Linda Cadapan said officials behind Palparan's extended stay at the Army Custodial Center a week after he was convicted on kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases should be held in contempt.

"Who coddles criminals but criminals too?" she added.

Malolos Regional Trial Court convicted Palparan and two of his men of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of two University of the Philippines students on September 17.

Pending case at another Malolos court

The court also issued a commitment order for Palparan to serve his sentence of reclusion perpetua at the New Bilibid Prison, but his lawyers argue that Palparan has a case pending before the Malolos RTC Branch 19. The commitment order for Palparan in that case puts him in the Army Custodial Center.

Concepcion Empeño said that the “military is showing they are above the law, just to protect their general who remains to be held accountable for numerous human rights violations aside from what they did to our daughters.” 

She said that it seems that the military seems to be operating on the mindset that they have power over civilians and people—the same mindset when they “took away or daughters and all the other disappeared persons, and killed many activists and ordinary people.” 

“This should stop,” said Empeño also said.

Rights group to rally for Palparan transfer

Meanwhile, Evangeline Hernandez, chairperson of Hustisya, said that the AFP is "making a mockery out of the cries for justice of the victims of Palparan."

Hernandez challenged Malacañang to direct the military to follow the order of the court.

"If you really respect the guilty verdict and want justice for the victims, tell your military men to transfer Palparan to NBP the soonest. Prove that civilian authority prevails in the land, or else show that the Duterte government is under the heels of the military, short of a military rule," added Hernandez. 

She said that rights group are gearing up for mass demonstrations next week to call for Palparan’s transfer to the NBP.

It has been more than 12 years since Karen and Sherlyn went missing, but their mothers said that they would continue to wait for them as it will only be then that they will find closure. — Kristine Joy Patag




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