A few days before the International Day of the Disappeared, rights group Desaparecidos demanded an update on the Aquino government’s efforts in arresting retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan.
“Where is Jovito Palparan? We won’t accept ‘we don’t know’ as an answer. The Aquino government should give us updates on his whereabouts, or have they laid their backs on even trying to look for him?” Concepcion Empeño, chairperson of Desaparecidos.
Palparan went into hiding after he, along with three other military officials, were charged with kidnapping with serious illegal detention in December 2011 on the disappearance of Empeño’s daughter, Karen, and Sherlyn Cadapan, abducted and disappeared on June 2006. A farmer, Manuel Merino, was also abducted in the same incident as accounted by witnesses.
“The Aquino government is beating around the bush. While we are tirelessly attending hearings and closely monitoring the case in court, we have not heard of any information whatsoever on where is Palparan now, or who’s coddling him. They bragged about posting bigger rewards for the fugitives. After that, they fell dead silent. Are they still looking for him?” Empeño lamented.
On August 30, families and friends of victims of enforced disappearance will gather at the University of the Philippines Diliman to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared. At Palma Hall, families will share testimonies while different groups and individuals will perform songs and poetry about desaparecidos.
According to Desaparecidos, there are 16 victims of enforced disappearances under the Aquino government, most of them are farmers and ordinary folk.
“We are glad that the public are at least knowledgeable about the cases of our missing daughters. What many people do not know is that enforced disappearances happen to this day. This is why we continue to call for justice. Sixteen (16) is not just a number, they are fathers, mothers and children. As long as this crime of enforced disappearance continues, we should be vigilant and hold the current government accountable,” Empeño said. ###
Reference: Concepcion Empeño, chairperson, Desaparecidos 0928-2884623