Palparan to be detained in Bulacan jail

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 14 released Wednesday a commitment order stating that retired Major General Jovito Palparan should be detained at the Bulacan provincial jail in Malolos City, Bulacan.

Judge Teodora Gonzales also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to present Palparan, who was arrested Tuesday in Sta. Mesa, Manila after being on the run for three years, to the court.

"The provincial jail warden of Bulacan is hereby directed to commit the living body of the accused M/Gen. Jovito Palparan in said jail," the order said.

Palparan, who was tagged as the "butcher" of the Arroyo administration, is the main accused in the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006.

The former military general faces kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases filed by the parents of the missing UP students.

Earlier, the Malolos court said Palparan should be physically present during the return of the arrest warrant but it was not followed by the NBI due to "security reasons."

"If hindi nila maipepresent dito sa court si Palparan immediately upon the receipt of the order it depends kay judge kung ano ang magiging sanction," Malolos RTC clerk of court Melba David said.

Jail warden Pepito Plamenco of Bulacan Provincial Jail said Palparan will join another inmate in an 18 square meters regular cell, with a single wooden bed and bathroom.

He said there would definitely be no "VIP treatment" for Palparan.

(Video by Third Anne Peralta/Sunnex)

The NBI will likely seek the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in securing Palparan's transfer due to serious threats on his life, said NBI Anti Organized and Transnational Crime Division chief Rommel Vallejo.

"I have to admit na di kaya ng NBI lang na magprovide ng security doon," he said.

Another concern for the NBI is Palparan's health.

"Merong nirekumenda na isubject siya sa complete blood count and blood chemistry para matiyak kung talagang fit siya. Naghihintay tayo na masagawa sa kanya yun. Sa pag-aresto sa kanya kahapon, halata na may nararamdaman siya," Vallejo said.

In a separate interview, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said some groups may use Palparan's impending transfer to embarass the administration, thus the need to secure him well.

"It could even be any group out to embarrass the administration. Kung may mangyayari kay Palparan, sino ba sisisihin, hindi ba ang administrasyon?" she told reporters.

"You can never tell, because of the political situation and the volatile situation that we have. Certain elements, sectors, might exploit the situation and cause further problems to the administration," de Lima said.

De Lima also criticized claims that Palparan's arrest has been used to divert public attention from issues hounding President Benigno Aquino III, whose popularity rating recently slipped to an all-time low due to the issues of pork barrel and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

"Tingnan ninyo mga theories nila, may nagsusupetsa na palabas lang itong paghuli kay Palparan para matakpan yung sa DAP. Para bang ang insinuation, para bang kakuntsaba namin si General Palparan. What a foolish insinuation," de Lima said.

Palparan’s arrest doesn’t mean that human rights situation in the Philippines is improving, according to the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and rights group Karapatan.

Both groups mentioned the case of UP graduates, Guiller Cadano and Gerald Salonga, whom the police and military abducted and jailed on August 9 in Nueva Ecija, the murder of a peasant activist in Quezon last August 6, and the intensifying counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.

"Let's get this straight. The arrest of Retired Major General Jovito Palparan does not end impunity in the country," Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Palabay said Major General Eduardo Año, chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP, who boasts of Palparan’s arrest is also accountable for numerous violations such as the disappearance of agriculturist Jonas Burgos.

Año is said to have continued Palparan’s "reign of terror" in Central Luzon, after Palparan’s stint in the region.

"Aquino glorifies Palparan’s protégés like General Año by promoting them to higher positions in the AFP, the same way Palparan was extolled by Gloria Arroyo then,” Palabay added.

As of June 30 this year, Karapatan has documented 204 victims of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino government, along with 21 victims of enforced disappearances, 99 cases of torture, 664 illegal arrests and detention, and 39,800 victims of forced evacuation. (Sunnex)

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