May 4, 2011
Mary Guy Portajada, Secretary General
Human rights group in the offensive vs. GMA’s butchers
Families of Cadapan and Empeño file criminal charges against Maj.Gen.Jovito Palparan
Families of the Disappeared for Justice (Desaparecidos) accompanied today, Mrs. Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeño as the two filed before the Department of Justice criminal charges against Ret. Major General Jovito Palparan Jr., for the rape, arbitrary detention, serious physical injuries, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats, and grave coercion, of their daughters – missing University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.
Mrs. Empeño is Vice Chairperson, while Mrs. Cadapan is board member of Desaparecidos.
Karen and Sherlyn were abducted on June 26, 2006 in the home of a farmer in Hagonoy, Bulacan. Karen was finishing her research on the lives of the peasants in Bulacan while Sherlyn was accompanying her. At 2 a.m. that day, several armed men forcibly entered the house where the two were staying; they kicked Sherlyn in the stomach, notwithstanding that was three months pregnant. They were both blindfolded, their hands tied behind their backs. A farmer, Manuel Merino, who was staying at the adjacent house, responded to help the two women, but was instead taken along with them. They remain missing to this day.
The families filed before the Supreme Court a Writ of Habeas Corpus in July that same year which was followed by a Writ of Amparo in 2007. It was also in that same year that a witness – Raymond Manalo, also an enforced disappearance and torture victim, surfaced to testify in courts that Palparan was responsible,not just for his abduction and torture but for the rights violations against the two students as well. A resolution was later released granting the writ of amparo on the case of Karen and Sherlyn.
“The search for justice for Karen and Sherlyn did not end in the granting of the amparo. With the criminal case filed today by Mrs. Cadapan and Mrs. Empeño against the perpetrators, they have taken a step towards the prosecution of the perpetrators and in establishing the accountability of the military in the more than 200 cases of enforced disappearances under the Arroyo government,” Mary Guy Portjada, secretary general of Desaparecidos said.
She also said that with Raul Gonzales no longer Justice Secretary, whom they consider as GMA’s puppet, they are hopeful that the DOJ will be able to look deeper into the case.
“We are looking forward for this case to prosper because the prosecution of Palparan might also shed light to other victims of enforced disappearances that happened under his command,” Portajada
“We will leave no stone unturned just to find out the truth on the fate of our missing loved ones,” Portajada said “Even if it will have to rock the status quo, or make noise so loud that it would be hard to ignore,” Portajada said. “This is what the mothers of Sherlyn and Karen are doing – they are challenging the status quo of impunity,” Portajada continued.
“Our strength is founded on the courage of Nanay (mother) Linda and Nanay Connie and all other families of victims of enforced disappearances in filing charges against the vicious and notorious perpetrators of their abduction and continued disappearance ,” Portajada said. “We are ready to face these abductors and torturers and bring them to justice,” Portajada ended. ###