August 14, 2014
MANILA, Philippines — The mothers of two University of the Philippines students whose abduction and disappearance retired Army general Jovito Palparan is charged with called him a “coward” on Thursday after he sought to remain in detention at the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila.
“Duwag si Palparan, sinungaling pa (Palparan is a coward and a liar),” Linda Cadapan and Connie Empeno said in a statement.
Palparan is facing kidnapping with serious illegal detention charges for the 2006 abduction of their daughters Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in Bulacan.
The former general, dubbed the “Butcher” by human rights activists who accuse him of the rash of human rights abuses in areas where he served as military commander, was captured by the NBI and naval intelligence in Sta. Mesa, Manila on Tuesday after almost three years in hiding.
Soon after his arrest, he said he was willing to be jailed anywhere and would not seek special treatment as he maintained he was innocent of the charges against him.
Despite his controversial reputation, top military officials were quick to praise him after his arrest, citing his exploits in the service, and said soldiers even call Palparan “idol.”
On Wednesday, Judge Teodora Gonzales of Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 14 ordered the NBI to present Palparan personally and for him to be detained at the Bulacan provincial jail.
However, on Thursday, Palparan’s lawyer, Narzal Mallares, filed the “urgent ex parte” asking that the former general be allowed to remain at the NBI because of alleged plans by the New People’s Army to assassinate him.
Reacting to Palparan’s bid, the two mothers said: “Sinabi niyang handa siyang makulong kahit saan. Pero ngayon, gusto na naman niyang suwayin ang korte (He said he was prepared to be jailed anywhere. But now he is again defying the court).”
They also recalled that, before the warrant for his arrest was issued, “sinabi rin niyang handa siyang harapin ang mga kasong isinampa. Sa halip pinagtaguan niya ito nang tatlong taon (he said he was ready to face the charges against him. Instead, he hid for almost three years).”
In the event the court grants Palparan his motion, they said, “mukhang lumalabo na naman ang hustisyang hinahangad naming (it would seem the justice we have been seeking will dim again).”
Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, which is helping prosecute Palparan, said they would oppose the motion during the former general’s arraignment on Monday, August 18.
Olalia said the law requires an accused person to be detained at the police station detention cell or jail nearest the court trying the case.
He said the NBI, the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology are capable of protecting Palparan in detention.
Olalia also added that it would be more difficult to secure Palparan every time he has to travel from the NBI headquarters to Bulacan for hearings instead of if he is detained at the Bulacan jail, which is just a stone’s throw from the court.