Panayam kay Edith Burgos, ina ng nawawalang aktibista na si Jonas Burgos

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“Hasten court proceedings; Arrest Butcher Palparan NOW”

News Release
6 August 2012
Mother of UP students’ abduction face court

“Hasten court proceedings; Arrest Butcher Palparan NOW”

“Butcher Palparan should be arrested NOW. We have risked our lives for justice, the government should do their responsibility.”Thus said Concepcion Empeno and Erlinda Cadapan, the mothers of the abducted UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Connie Empeno is set to take the witness stand at the resumption of the court hearings on the kidnapping case against retired Gen. Jovito Palparan and three other military officials.

Gusto namin ng hustisya dahil hindi lang si Karen at Sherlyn ang pinahirapan nila pati rin and mga pamilya namin, (We want justice because it was not only Karen and Sherlyn who suffered, but also our families),” she said, explaining that their lives have not been normal since the incident six years ago.

The mothers of Sherlyn and Karen were joined by Mrs. Edith Burgos, mother of another enforced disappearance victim, Jonas Burgos. Other human rights advocates and relatives of victims also held a picket during the hearing. The mothers call on the public to never tire and continue the people’s manhunt to catch ‘The Butcher’, saying that the police and the military have been very useless in arresting Palparan.

Hindi talaga mahahanap si Palparan kung hindi naman siya hinahanap. Ni isang salita, wala kaming narinig sa SONA ni Noynoy tungkol sa karapatang pantao. Ngayon, nakalaya pa ang boss ni Palparan na si Gloria Arroyo. May maaasahan pa ba kami sa gobyernong Aquino? (Palparan can never be caught, if they are not really looking for him. We did not hear a word about human rights from Noynoy’s SONA. Now, Palparan’s master, Gloria Arroyo is free. We cannot expect anything from the Aquino government.),” Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn, said.

Concepcion Empeño, mother of Karen, said, “Nananawagan kami sa mamamayan na kahit saan ninyo makita si Palparan, arestuhin nyo na. Citizens’ arrest na ang kailangan natin, dahil napakainutil ng gobyerno sa paghuli sa kanya (We are appealing to the public to arrest Palparan right away if they see him. We can only rely on citizen’s arrest to get Palparan because the government is simply inutile in finding and arresting him.”

Palparan remains at large with Master Sgt. Rizal Hilario, almost eight months after a warrant of arrest was issued against him by the Malolos Regional Trial Court. ###

Mary Guy Portajada,
Secretary General, Desaparecidos
09175415133/ 434 2837

Aquino fails to fulfill promise to curb rights abuses—watchdog


MANILA, Philippines – Since he took office two years ago, President Benigno Aquino III has failed to fulfill his promises to hold accountable those responsible for serious human rights abuses, a watchdog said Thursday.

“The Aquino government has not successfully prosecuted a single case of extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance, including those committed during his presidency,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report.

President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

In its 2011 report “No Justice Adds to the Pain,” HRW noted that there were 10 cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances since Aquino took office. However, no one has been arrested for these cases, and three “disappeared” people remained missing.

“President Aquino has not lived up to his promises to bring those responsible for serious Abuses to justice, Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “Concrete measures – rather than more promises – are needed now.”

HRW noted that President Aquino said in his first State of the Nation Address in July 2010 that the case of Francisco Baldomero, an activist from Aklan province who was killed on July 5, 2010, was among those “on their way to being resolved.” Though an arrest warrant was issued for Dindo Ancero in the case, he has not been apprehended and the case was put on hold in January 2011, HRW said.

A similar case happened to the case of Rene Quirante, a left-wing activist who was beaten and shot by uniformed men on October 1, 2010 in Negros Oriental Province. HRW said an arrest warrant was issued but never served for one of two suspects in the case, with a relative of Quirante’s alleging that the suspect has been seen in the company of soldiers.

“Nothing is happening,” Quirante’s relative told HRW in April. “We’re growing tired of waiting for justice.”

HRW also released a video entitled “No Justice Just Adds to the Pain,” where family members of the “disappeared” call on the President to live up to his promises.

HRW said that based on its monitoring of the cases of killings and enforced disappearances under the previous administration of Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, progress on the cases was made not because of the aggressive action by police and prosecutors but the courage and perseverance of family members to pursue cases.

HRW cited the cases of the 2006 disappearance of UP students Karen Cadapan and Sherlyn Empeno, in which their families’ actions were crucial in bringing two soldiers to trial for kidnapping and illegal detention.

HRW noted that though the trial of the soldiers started in May, they were being held not in civilian custody but in a military camp.

Major General Jovito Palparan, a primary accused in the case, has not been apprehended. HRW said it received information that military and business interests were protecting Palparan.

HRW noted how state security forces and insurgent groups in the country have continued to be implicated in cases of torture, enforced disappearances, and killings of hundreds of journalists, activists, and clergy.

Meanwhile, in its own report, the US Department of State also noted the impunity of rights violations that persisted under the Aquino Administration.

It also cited how the Aquino administration faced more than 20 cases of major human-rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, but investigated and prosecuted only a few of those cases.

After two years in power, President Benigno Aquino has failed to fulfill his promises to ‘bring those responsible for serious abuses to justice,’ the Human Rights Watch says in a report Thursday.

Video by HRW