[In the news] What Jollibee saw -INQUIRER.net

What Jollibee saw.

By: Patricia Evangelista, Philippine Daily Inquirer
March 25, 2012

On Dec. 20, 2011, five years after University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño were abducted from Hagonoy, Bulacan, the Bulacan courts released a warrant for the arrest of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. and three other officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They were charged with two counts of abduction and serious illegal detention. It is the first time in recent history that officers of the AFP are being hunted down for human rights violations.

Of the witnesses who have stepped forward to point a finger at the military, the youngest is a Bulacan native previously referred to as Jollibee. He was 14 at the time of the abduction, and testified to the abduction of Cadapan and Empeño in spite of his own father’s refusal to stand by his statements.

Late in 2011, at the resumption of the Palparan et al. hearings, the boy called Jollibee pointed a finger at a man who appeared in court as Palparan’s bodyguard. Palparan claimed it was the first time he had met the man. After much reluctance, the AFP introduced him to the court as Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio. He is now in custody, along with Lt. Col. Felipe G. Anotado.

Almost three months after warrants for their arrest were released, Palparan and retired Master Sgt. Rizal Hilario are still at large. Jollibee, born Wilfredo Ramos Jr., is now 19 years old, and is happy to inform the gentlemen who once called him a liar that he is still waiting.

* * *

This is Jollibee’s account as told to Patricia Evangelista.

They call me Jollibee, because my mother had me 19 years ago in the first Jollibee fast food restaurant opened in Bulacan.

At 2 in the morning of June 25, 2006, about 15 men from the AFP arrived at our village. They were in full uniform. They knocked on our door. They said if we didn’t let them in they would shoot us down. My father got scared. He opened the door fast, but they beat him anyway and shoved him to the ground. They hit him, behind the neck, and tied him down.

I was 14 when it happened. The girls were staying with us, researching the farmers in Hagonoy. As far as I know they were not members of the New People’s Army. I don’t think they were rebels. Activists, maybe. I knew them for years. They were almost family.

I saw the men bind my father. I went down the stairs. They grabbed me and hit me and shoved me down the hallway and tied me up, too. That’s when I heard the girls screaming for help. They were being forced out of our house and beaten. One of the farmers who lived with us, Manuel Merino, ran out to help Karen and Sherlyn. He was worried about them. They took him, too.

Read full article @ http://opinion.inquirer.net/25565/what-jollibee-saw

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