[Press Release] Get Palparan and Render Justice to Other EJK Victims: Time to Review Melo and Alston Report – KPD

 Retired Major General Jovito Palparan has made the headlines once again. Though earlier suspected in having a direct hand in the Cadapan-Empeño case, it was only last December 15 that he has been finally charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention of the two UP students who were abducted last June 26, 2006.

His deep-seated contempt for legal procedure and the rule of law is again shown by his refusal to subject himself to the on-going court proceedings. His apologists are asking for a fair trial for him. But how can he have a fair trial when he refuses to surrender?

Palparan’s career in the military is marked with shortcuts in “cleansing” the society of suspected leftist elements. He earned the moniker of ‘the butcher’ after leaving a trail of illegal arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings during the gradual constriction campaign in Central Luzon in the late 80’s, his stint as commander in Mindoro (2001-2003) of the 204th Brigade and as a Vice-Division Commander of the 8th Infantry Division based in Samar (February-August 2005).

Better late than never, the DOJ’s filing of charges against Palparan in the Cadapan-Empeño case is most welcome, but it simply created a mere “pin hole” in the wall of impunity. He is suspected to be involved in more than seven hundred cases of extra-judicial killings, disappearances and abductions, many of which happened while he was the
top dog of the Northern Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

His performance in the Northern Luzon Command best exemplified the state policy of Arroyo’s counter-insurgency campaign. While taking the lead, other human rights violations happened in other parts of the country like in Isabela, Compostela Valley and Southern Tagalog. For a job well done, he was even praised by Arroyo during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2006.

Sadly, Palparan is not an aberration.

He was a “distinguished” officer of a military establishment, which has gained notoriety for its poor record of respecting and upholding human rights. The others—less visible, still in active service under different state security branches— should be held accountable for
their hand in the state-sponsored killings. The climate of impunity, of utter disregard for the rule of law and common decency, is with us to date. And these butchers-in-uniform likewise deserve to be brought to the bar justice.

From a mere pin hole to outright dismantling of the wall of impunity, now is the opportune time to go back to the 2006 Melo Commission Report as well as the 2007 Report made by Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary, summary executions. Even back then, he has been pin-pointed as culpable in the spate of extra-judicial executions of progressives and activists.

Pnoy’s zealousness and contagious passion to go after corruption inside the military establishment and in the government in general, in digging deep into the electoral fraud created by Arroyo and instituting reforms in the judicial system is nowhere felt with
regards to human rights violations. Unable to start the wheel of justice for the past victims of human rights violations, the military under his government continues to violate human rights. After two years, his Presidential Commission on Human Rights is still far away
from coming up with a human rights plan.

Dangling a million peso reward for the capture of Palparan is not enough.

This administration’s commitment to end impunity will immediately be measured in its ability to marshal its resources, the police and other law-enforcement personnel in capturing Palparan. PNnoy has proven himself when his allies in the House filed the impeachment case against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Maybe, it is time
to look for Palparan inside the military camps.

The resolution of Palparan’s case will be a litmus test for Pnoy in his avowed adherence for human rights and democracy. And so with the other victims of human rights violations.The victims and relatives deserve no less.

January 11, 2012
Reference: Chester Amparo, Secretary General, KPD 0922 954 6038

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