Retired military generals: Palparan a victim of trial by publicity

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Friday, August 15, 2014

A GROUP of retired military generals denounced Friday what they described as trial by publicity heaped by militant groups against retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan, who is blamed for human rights abuses during the past Arroyo administration.

Retired Lieutenant General Edilberto Adan, president of the 800-strong Association of Generals and Flag Officers (Agfo), said the 63-year-old Palparan, former commander of the Army's 7th Infantry Division, should be given his day in court.

Palparan was arrested last Tuesday by the military and NBI agents in Sta. Mesa, Manila. He went into hiding in December 2011, shortly after a Bulacan court ordered his arrest for the 2006 kidnapping of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, both still missing.

"Let him have his day in court and defend himself against his accusers. He is entitled to due process. Our justice system presumes that he is innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law," said Adan in a statement.

Adan said branding Palparan as "berdugo" or butcher is not helping in the resolution of the case of Palparan. Also, he said the case of Palparan should not be linked to politics.

"Professional soldiers like Major General Palparan faced hardships and risks, and had put his life on the line like countless Filipino soldiers in the service of the country, starting as a junior officer in the 1970s. His courage and leadership had saved lives and protected communities. His sacrifices should be taken into account," he said.

Adan said Palparan should be allowed to face his accusers in court, in keeping with the democratic principles of the society.

"If he had abused his power and authority or committed any crime against anyone as the militants claim, then allow him to face his accusers, and they should present evidence for evaluation by competent authorities so that justice maybe served. Lest we forget, this is how it works in a democracy," Adan said.

Adan said Agfo sympathizes with the families of the victims of the more than four-decades-old insurgency problem, whether they are civilians or soldiers.

"But branding Major General Palparan as a 'berdugo' and playing it up in the media does not help the quest for justice. We should not forget that the real enemies are those who resort to violence and intimidation to achieve their selfish political ends. In many societies, such actions are considered acts of terrorism, and those who commit them, terrorists," he said. (VR/Sunnex)

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