Desaparecidos: Military stalls case against Palparan, cannot produce “witnesses”

Press Release
November 11, 2013

“The military is deliberately delaying the court proceedings on the kidnapping case against Gen. Jovito Palparan et al. This has been the second time the military failed to present its ‘witnesses’ before the Malolos Regional Trial Court,” Lorena “Aya” Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice said on the case against retired Gen. Palparan for kidnapping and illegal detention of the two missing  University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

“The military must be having a hard time producing a person to pose as witness and lie in court,” Santos said. Two other court hearings on September were postponed because the respondents, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, failed to present a witness to counter allegations of their involvement in the kidnapping of the two women.

“If the respondents have a witness, we expect him or her to either do a Janet Napoles saying, ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I invoke my right against self-incrimination’ or plainly lie and invent a whole different story to support the military’s claim. The military, through the Judge Advocate Generals Office (JAGO), did this in the case of Rolly Panesa. So we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s going to do the same in this case,” Santos said.

Santos said the JAGO, during the hearings of the case of the writ of habeas corpus for Rolly Panesa, presented ‘witnesses’ who obviously knew nothing of the cases hurled against Panesa.

The petitioners, mothers of the two women, Linda Capadan and Concepcion Empeño earlier presented witnesses Raymond Manalo and Wilfredo Ramos, both vividly recalled the incidents when they saw the two abducted students and identified the respondents as among those responsible for the abduction of the young women. Manalo, together with the Karen and Sherlyn were held captive in a safehouse by Palparan’s men in Limay, Bataan.  Manalo and Ramos identified Palparan as the person referred to by soldiers as ‘Lolo’. Manalo said Palparan even talked to him and threatened him to dissuade his family from talking to organizations like Karapatan.

“Where is Gen. Palparan now? He has been in hiding for almost two years now,” Santos said. “It is such a SHAME that a criminal like Palparan cannot be located and arrested by the BS Aquino administration,” Santos said. “It is predictable that a criminal will try to hide and run from persecution. But, a government that fails to arrest a criminal for a long time is unjustifiable,” Santos added.

“Ano pang silbi ni Pang. Aquino kung hindi nahuhuli at napaparusahan ang mga kriminal sa bansa?” Santos asked. ###

Lorena “Aya” Santos, Secretary General, Desaparecidos 09088121982

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