June 20, 2011
Reference: Mary Guy Portajada, Secretary General
Contact Numbers: 09175414133/4342837
With Supreme Court decision,
criminal cases against Palparan grow strong
Families of the Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos) sees hope to put Palparan and other perpetrators of human rights violations in jail after the Supreme Court finally issued its decision on the petition for Writ of Amparo for missing activists Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.
Karen and Sherlyn are two University of the Philippines students who were abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan together with Manuel Merino on the midnight of June 26, 2006 at a farmer’s house during their research on peasant situation in Bulacan. The two remain missing to this date
Last July 17, 2006, parents of both activists filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus at the Court of Appeals but the said petition was dismissed on March 29, 2007 on the basis of the respondents’ denial of Sherlyn and Karen’s custody. On the 24th of October of the same year, Concepcion Empeno and Linda Cadapan, mothers of Karen and Sherlyn respecticvely, filed a petition for the Writ of Amparo. The Court of Appeals then granted the said Writ but the UP students still remain missing.
“With the series of filing of complaints and petitions to find Sherlyn and Karen, it is just now that the Supreme Court has decided to surface the two missing UP students,” Mary Guy Portajada, Secretary General of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice said. It also says in its decision that Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson, Gen. Jovito Palparan, Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac, Arnel Enriquez, and Donald Caigas, all of which are the respondents to the petition, shall answer for any responsibilities and/or accountabilities they may have incurred during their incumbencies.
“This decision is very timely since we have just filed criminal cases against these perpetrators at the DOJ,” Portajada says. “This means that they will also have to answer and be accountable for the crimes they committed,” Portajada adds.
“Our only disappointment on this decision is that the persons who were in higher office during their abductions, such as former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Avelino Razon and Gen. Romeo Tolentino were not included in the list of accountable to their disappearance,” Portajada stresses. “They were the people who made disappearances in the Philippines a national policy under the former counter insurgency-program Oplan Bantay Laya,” Mary Guy says. “They are all the more accountable than those who directly participated in the abductions and disappearance of activists and common Filipinos,” she continues.
“It seems that justice remains elusive even under the new administration,” Portajada comments. “It is not until GMA and her minions are put to jail for their crimes against the Filipino people will the Families of Desaparecidos for Justice stop to challenge every court or every official to break the atmosphere of impunity,” Portajada finally says. ####