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Satur C. Ocampo | Palparan’s comeuppance

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Satur C. Ocampo | Palparan’s comeuppance

By Satur C. Ocampo

Remember Jovito Palparan Jr., the notorious Philippine Army officer tagged by militant political activists as “The Butcher”?

In 2007 the Melo Commission recommended Palparan’s investigation for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations. Instead, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo personally presented him as a special guest and commended his exploits during her 2008 state-of-the-nation address, thus abetting his continued terror campaign till he retired as major general in 2009.

Now Palparan may soon be hailed to court to face criminal charges. Comeuppance at last!

Last Wednesday the mothers of the two former UP students, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, who were abducted and “disappeared” in 2006, filed a complaint at the Department of Justice against Palparan, two Army colonels and several others. The charges: rape, serious physical injuries, arbitrary detention, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats, grave coercion, and violation of RA 7438 (on the rights of detained persons).

Sherlyn and Karen were abducted by armed men on June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan. Witnesses have identified their abductors as soldiers of the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion in Norzagaray, Bulacan. They were detained and tortured in a camp in Limay, Bataan under the 24th IB. The 56th and 24th IBs were both under the 7th Infantry Division, then headed by Palparan.

Their mothers, Erlinda T. Cadapan and Concepcion E. Empeno, filed a petition for habeas corpus at the Supreme Court. The SC directed the Court of Appeals to hear the petitions. Initially the CA denied the petition in 2007, but on appeal in 2008 it reversed the ruling and ordered the military to release the two women.

Yet to this day they remain in limbo.

At least two factors can be credited for the recent positive turn of events.

1. The courageous and credible detailed testimony at the 2008 CA hearing of a young Bulacan farmer, Raymond Manalo. His testimony — which convinced the CA to reverse its 2007 ruling on the habeas corpus petition cited above — is the linchpin of the criminal case, backed up by the testimonies of seven other witnesses.

In that testimony Raymond cited the direct involvement of Palparan in the abduction, detention and torture of Sherlyn and Karen. In a separate testimony earlier in his own petition for the writ of amparo related to his abduction, he detailed Palparan’s direct role and those of his two trusted aides since the 1980s, MSgt. Donald Caigas and MSgt. Rizal Hilario..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/05/14/satur-c-ocampo-palparans-comeuppance/


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