Tag Archives: Panfilo Lacson

[In the news] There’s the rubout -INQUIRER.net

There’s the rubout.
By Conrado de Quiros, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 14, 2013

But of course it was a rubout.

inquirerAt the very least, there’s common sense to suggest it. According to those who lived to tell the tale, who were those who made sure their victims did not, their victims started the gunfight. They flagged them down, but instead of stopping the victims tried to ram the barrier with their SUVs while sending a burst of gunfire at them. They fired back, and in the furious exchange killed them all.

Can anything be more idiotic? A group of 13 heavily armed men fires first at those manning a checkpoint and doesn’t get to put down even one of them? And instead ends up being riddled by bullets down to the last man? That happens only in action movies where the villains are duling.

At the very most, there’s evidence to prove it. The victims appeared to have been shot at close range, some right between their eyes. Some of them weren’t even armed, yet were blasted to death just the same. More than that, witnesses saw one of the victims get out of the car, hands raised up, and ask the people manning the checkpoint what the problem was. And got shot when he went back to the SUV for his pains.

No, it was a rubout pure and simple.

Read full article @opinion.inquirer.net

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[Statement] PHILIPPINES: The importance of arresting retired general Jovito Palparan Jr. -AHRC

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission

PHILIPPINES: The importance of arresting retired general Jovito Palparan Jr.

In the streets of Metro Manila, it is common to see photographs or posters of missing persons posted on walls and electricity poles, with details of the missing person and how to contact the relatives looking for them. These families have taken it upon themselves to look for their loved ones, in the absence of any help from the government.

What is not common however, is the poster of Jovito Palparan Jr., a retired military general, also posted widely on public walls in Manila. He is not a missing person, but a person who went into hiding after the court issued arrest orders against him, to answer allegations of his and his men’s involvement in the disappearance of two activists, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in 2006 (See Story No. 86 for details). The inability of the government to arrest him is not surprising; in fact, him being actually arrested would be more of a surprise. (photo: Jovito Palparan’s wanted poster in streets of Manila)

Failure to arrest persons subject to court arrest orders is not unique to Palparan. The failure or inability to arrest is unfortunately a norm more than an exception throughout the Philippines. Even ordinary criminals or escapees from jail can in fact roam freely. Unless they make trouble again, or they apply for employment requiring police clearance, they are not likely to be arrested. Under such circumstances, how can society expect Palparan to be arrested?

Firstly, Palparan is not an ordinary man. Before he retired from the military, he commanded military units and was assigned to various different regions. His military accomplishments–regardless of whether they conform to the articles of war and human rights norms, which the military establishment claim to adhere to–are publicly endorsed and recognized by his former commander-in-chief, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Secondly, Palparan is well known to the government. All of his personal and military records are well documented by the Armed Forces, not only as a military officer, but also as a civil servant subject to civil service laws. In performing his duty in the military, he is subject to both administrative and criminal proceedings. As a known military general well endorsed publicly by the former president, it is hard to imagine that the government, particularly the military establishment, does not know where Palparan is.

Thirdly, Palparan’s military career and achievements was strongly endorsed during Arroyo’s presidency. In other words, Arroyo consented to Palparan’s actions and his rhetoric justifying the fight against counter-insurgency and protecting the rights of only those people he considered as ‘humans’. Now that Arroyo herself is under hospital arrest and being prosecuted for election fraud however, where does Palparan’s support lie?

Despite the change in leadership and government knowledge regarding Palparan, there are today posters put up in search for him. This is a clear indicator that the assumption that any police or military officer who committed violations during Arroyo’s time could be held accountable once the leadership is changed, is deeply flawed. The dominant thinking that change of leadership is prerequisite to accountability for gross human rights violations has been flawed for many years; this did not happen in the present Aquino term, nor did it occur in the regime of Corazon Aquino after Marcos, or in Gloria Arroyo’s regime after Estrada.

Rather, it is clear that those accused of crimes, regardless of whether they are government civil servants, policemen or military officers, have developed sophisticated methods of escaping from accountability. At the same time, the relatives and victims of human rights violations are also developing creative means to deal with this absence of accountability; the distribution of Palparan’s poster being one such method.

Escaping arrest for instance, is not a special skill unique to Palparan. Needless to say, the current Philippine Senator Panfilo Lacson himself had gone into hiding and absconded from his responsibility as a lawmaker to evade the very jurisdiction of law he was mandated by the people to uphold. In his defence, he also claimed innocence of the murder charges against him for the assassination of the former publicist of President Estrada. After the court dismissed the charges, he surfaced bragging about his exploits while in hiding.

Like Palparan, Lacson is also a ‘decorated police officer.’ He had been accused for committing torture and human rights violations during his career as a police officer before joining the Senate. The difference is that the charges on Lacson were dismissed, while Palparan’s charges had just begun. In the Philippines, jurisprudence says that flight is an indication of guilt; Lacson can now afford to show up in public, while Palparan cannot. However, there is one thing that these individuals have in common: the capacity to hide from the law using their connections with the police and military.

The spread of posters of Palparan in the streets of Manila, initiated by Karapatan and the families of the victims who took responsibility in asking to locate him, demonstrates an utter state of impunity that continues to thrive in the country. In the case of Palparan and his men involved in forced disappearance, even the Department of Justice and its attached special investigation unit, the National Bureau of Investigation, have openly admitted being unable to arrest them, despite their resources and intelligence network all over the country. While the government may be willing to arrest Palparan, it seems its willingness does not match its ability.

The failure and inability of the government to arrest Palparan should therefore be examined thoroughly by the country’s justice institutions to address unresolved cases and the ongoing impunity of past regimes. The skills and habits to evade accountability developed by the offenders of the law, particularly the security forces expected to uphold the law, must first be learned and understood. No reform can be made possible without this knowledge. This is not only about arresting Palparan or him evading prosecution, but rather narrating the state of justice institutions that exist in the country.
Read this statement online

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
Visit our new website with more features at http://www.humanrights.asia.

March 30, 2012

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[In the news] Fugitive Palparan sighted in Negros – SunStar.com.ph

Fugitive Palparan sighted in Negros
January 19, 2012

 HUMAN rights organization Karapatan claimed Wednesday that the fugitive retired army general Jovito Palparan is somewhere in northern Negros Occidental.

Karapatan Negros secretary general Fred Caña made the revelation after their human rights network in northern Negros Occidental relayed sightings of Palparan in the first district of the province, particularly in San Carlos City.

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Caña said that the fugitive general was reported to have been sighted in a property of a politician from the said district. He added, however, that their informant said that Palparan did not stay long in the said area.

Caña said that, although their allied organizations could not confirm the veracity of the information, the sighting could not be farfetched.

He said that senators Gringo Honasan and Panfilo Lacson, who were once fugitives like Palparan, were also sighted hiding in the first district of the province.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Senate slams House panel Prosecutors told disclosure of CJ Corona’s penthouse against impeach rules – INQUIRER.net

Senate slams House panel
Prosecutors told disclosure of CJ Corona’s penthouse against impeach rules
By Cathy C. Yamsuan, Cynthia D. Balana, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 5th, 2012

 Hold your horses.

The House of Representatives’ 11-member panel that will prosecute the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona drew flak on Wednesday not only from his lead lawyer but also from senators and Catholic bishops for its purported overzealousness.

The senators who are to serve as judges in Corona’s impeachment trial expressed dismay at Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr.’s disclosure of the Chief Justice’s purchase of a high-end penthouse and encouraged him and the other prosecutors to take a close look at Rule XVIII of the “Rules of Procedure on Impeachment Trials.”

Rule XVIII states that the presiding officer (in this case, the Senate President) and the members of the Senate “shall refrain from making any comments and disclosures in public pertaining to the merits of a pending impeachment trial.” It adds that “[t]he same shall likewise apply to the prosecutors, to the person impeached, and to their respective counsel and witnesses.”

Senator Panfilo Lacson suggested that he and his colleagues “throw our impeachment rules out the window or straight at [the House prosecutors’] faces.”
Senator Gregorio Honasan cautioned the prosecutors against the “swaying effect” that their revelation might have on public opinion.

“Masyado silang atat (They are too eager),” Senate President Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada said of the prosecutors.

“Why, would it be the media who would decide Corona’s fate? So they have documents proving that Corona owned all these condo units? Present those to the Senate! The problem is that some parties seem to have a mind-conditioning agenda,” Estrada added.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] Lacson wants reexamination of ZTE deal – www.philstar.com

Lacson wants reexamination of ZTE deal
By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Panfilo Lacson is considering a reexamination of the controversial national broadband network (NBN) deal with ZTE Corp. of China that rocked the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Lacson said there was never any real closure on the issue just like most of the other controversies hounding the Arroyo administration.

“That’s under consideration. If there are new documents, why not? This the opportune time to really put closure to all these issues,” Lacson said.

Lacson admitted that most of the issues against the Arroyos have been forgotten, notwithstanding the series of probes in the past. He said the reason was probably because there are just too many controversies.

“There were so many and these piled up to the point that we got tired of investigating and the Filipino people got tired of watching and listening to the hearings,” he said.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] Reproductive Health bill now has new ally in Senate | Sun.Star

Reproductive Health bill now has new ally in Senate | Sun.Star.

SUPPORTERS of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill now have a new ally in Senator Panfilo Lacson, who declared Tuesday that he will back the passage of the measure.

Lacson said President Benigno Aquino III is “on the right track” by supporting the passage of the bill.

Lacson’s statement came after the President said Sunday that he is willing to risk excommunication from the Catholic Church to get the bill passed.

The Church has opposed the bill, saying distributing contraceptives is tantamount to abortion.

In October last year, tension between the bill’s supporters and critics rose after Surigao del Sur Bishop Nereo Odchimar reportedly threatened to excommunicate Aquino if he pushes for the distribution of contraceptives.

Odchimar, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president, denied making the threat, adding excommunication was not “a proximate possibility.”

“Finding ways to curb our monstrous population growth rate is one sensible approach in poverty alleviation. Advocating population management is not being anti-life. In fact, it is pro-country and pro-people,” Lacson said.

Read full article at Sunstar.com.ph