Palparan: 'I can win this case'

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- Retired Major General Jovito Palparan is confident that he will be acquitted from charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the abduction of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in June 2006.

In a television interview hours after authorities nabbed him on Tuesday, Palparan denied anew his involvement in the enforced disappearances.

"Yung verification ko after the incident, yung na-abduct dun, whoever abducted them, are full-time NPA (New People's Army members). Yung Ka Tanya at isa pa nakalimutan ko na ang alias pero in the investigation, sila na rin daw ang kini-claim na nawala noon," he said.

He said it was also impossible for his troops under the 7th Infantry Division to do such crimes.

"As per my investigation, wala naman na-involve na military doon. Marami din kasi silang (NPA) nasasagaan, yung mga nakikilan nila galit rin sa kanila. I'm sure na walang na-involve na tao ko dun," Palparan said.

Government prosecutors are sure that they have a strong case against the former military official, citing the testimonies of Raymond Manalo, who was detained with the students for a year until 2007, and other eyewitnesses.

"Flight is an indication of guilt -- that's well established. He appeared, initially, during the preliminary investigation of this case. He only went into hiding after we indicted him so the aggravating circumstance already applies to him," said Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, one of the prosecutors in the cases.

Palparan admitted that he hid in different places in Metro Manila after an arrest warrant was issued against him in December 2011 out of fear for his life, prompting Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to assure him in public that he will get ample security.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Palparan's arrest will protect him from the NPA that has a standing order to have him killed, which the military believes is "ill-fit."

"Ang commitment ng gobyerno dito is that he will be fairly treated and he still enjoys the constitutional presumption of innocence. Ang mga victims naman ay makakaasa na may justice this time. Katotohanan muna bago katarungan," she said.

De Lima viewed the arrest as proof that the Aquino administration is not perpetuating the culture of impunity.
"We have proven them (critics) wrong," she said.

Palparan was involved in large-scale counterinsurgency campaigns under the Arroyo administration’s Oplan Bantay-Laya.

He is allegedly accountable for at least 59 victims of enforced disappearances: five victims in Mindoro, 42 in Central Luzon, and 12 in Eastern Visayas, according to a tally by Human rights group Desaparecidos. (Sunnex)

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