File more charges vs. Palparan


    Karapatan and Bayan-Central Luzon leaders raise placards seeking justice for victims of arrested retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, dubbed by them as “berdugo”. They also sought the release of former UP students Gerals Salonga and Guiller Cardano who were arrested recently Carangglan, Nueva Ecija. PHOTO BY DING CERVANTES

    ANGELES CITY- Human rights and other militant groups in Central Luzon have urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file more criminal charges against captured retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, as it imputed to him most of the 154 summary executions and 66 forced disappearances in the region from 2005 to 2006.

    Human rights group Karapatan- Central Luzon chair Sr. Cecille Ruiz said the arrest of Palparan, whom militants have labelled “butcher” or “berdugo”, has emboldened bereaved families of alleged victims of Palparan to come out in the open to testify against him.

    She noted that her group’s count of victims of summary executions and disappearances did not include “many more cases of human rights violations” during the stint of Palparan as commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division that covered Central and Northern Luzon from September 2005 to September 2006.

    Eco Dangla, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Central Luzon, said his group is now talking to other victims of Palparan to consolidate more evidences against the retired general who went into hiding for three years after a Bulacan court issued a warrant of arrest against him for two counts of kidnapping and detention of still missing UP students Sherlyn Cadapa and Karen Empeno.

    But both Ruiz and Dangla lamented that “the Aquino administration has never filed any case against Palparan’s commander-in-chief (former president) Gloria Arroyo on the counts of her administration’s grave human rights abuses.”

    They also said that such human rights abuses have continued under the Aquino administration. A statement issued jointly by Karapatan and Bayan in the region said “the arrest of Palparan has long been overdue. The families, friends, and supporters of the victims have agonizingly exhausted all efforts to put Palparan behind bars and to seek justice for their loved ones.”

    It noted that “Palparan through Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya I and 2 unleashed a swath of terror against the people of Central Luzon and other parts of the country, particularly in Southern Tagalog and Eastern Visayas.”

    “Under Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya, a total of 1,190 cases of extra judicial killings, 205 cases of enforced disappearances and thousands of cases of torture, threat, intimidation and other forms of human rights violations happened,” it said.

    Ruiz also held Palparan for at least 20 suicides of folk in far flung villages of northern Nueva Ecija during Palparan’s term as commander of the 7th ID. “Among those who committed suicide was a married couple who left a suicide note to their children saying they could no longer bear military harassment,” Ruiz said.

    Ruiz noted that Karapatan’s list of victims of executions and disappearances during Palparan’s term covered on those documented. “Many other cases still have to be documented,” she added. At the same time, Karapatan and Bayan urged the release of Gerald Salonga, 23, and Guiller Cadano, 23, both former UP students who were picked up by Army soldiers from the 7th ID and policemen in Carranglan , Nueva Ecija last Saturday.

    Ruiz said the two were Anakbayan partylist members who were merely trying to integrate into the local community in their research on rural poverty. Dangla said that hand grenades and firearms were planted in their bags so that they could be charged without bail.

    Dangla said the two were coerced into saying they were members of the New People’s Army.


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