Press Statement

October 30, 2014

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

Church, rights advocates disappointed with De Lima’s handling of Palparan, other HR cases

http://www.karapatan.org/Disappointed+with+De+Lima%E2%80%99s+handling+of+Palparan+HR  [copy and paste]

From a “glimmer of hope to extreme disappointment, if not righteous indignation” is how human rights victims and their families, UCCP Bishops, human rights groups, artists and writers, and members of the academe described their feelings over the “slow progress of many human rights cases” handled by the Department of Justice under Sec. Leila de Lima’s leadership.

Signed by 33 individuals, the open letter to Sec. De Lima brought out the “possibility that Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. will not be made accountable,” because “the DOJ has assumed the role of protecting Palparan…”

On October 20, the DOJ Prosecution panel turned down the request of the mothers of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, through their private prosecutors from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, to bring Palparan back to jail instead of staying at Fort Bonifacio . The Malolos Regional Trial Court denied the motion of Erlinda Cadapan and Connie Empeño to transfer Palparan to a civilian jail facility because the DOJ prosecutors did not concur.

“This clearly illustrates the prejudice of the Aquino administration on a very important issue of justice—that of ensuring that no special treatment be accorded, especially for those accused of heinous crimes against the People of the Philippines ,” the letter said.

Aside from Cadapan and Empeño’s mothers, those who signed the open letter were: Glenda Co (wife of Leonard Co), Orly Marcella (husband of Eden Marcellana), Fr. Peter Geremia, PIME (for Justice for Pops Tentorio Movement), Dr. Merry Mia Clamor (“Morong 43”), Fr. Rex Reyes (Secretary General of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines), Bsp. Reuel Marigza (Secretary General of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines), National Artist Bien Lumbera, artists Bibeth Orteza and Maria Isabel Lopez (for the End Impunity Alliance), filmmaker Sari Dalena, human rights lawyer Evalyn Ursua, Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza (Makabayan coalition), and Dr. Carol Araullo (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan).

The letter also cited the “slow progress in other human rights cases” despite the task force created through the Administrative Order 35, also known as the DOJ’s “superbody” to address cases of extrajudicial killings.

It enumerated the following cases the extrajudicial killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, Datu Jimmy Liguyon and town councillor Fernando Baldomero; massacres of botanist Prof. Leonard Co and companions Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo, and of anti-mining activist Juvy Capion and sons Jordan and John Mark; civil case of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines against human rights violations of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; killing of Bsp. Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipino Independiente and Catholic priest Rev. Cecilio Lucero; and torture and civil cases of health workers known as Morong 43.

The group called on the Aquino government to “urgently and decisively” act on these cases “while there is still time”.

The other signatories of the letter were: UCCP Bishops Elorde Sambat, Hamuel Tequis, Emergencio Padilla, Joel Tendero, Jaime Moriles, Jezer Bertoldo and Melzar Labuntog. They were joined by Professors Leonilo Doloricon (former dean of the UP College of Fine Arts ), Carl Ramota (UP-Manila), Danilo Arao (UP College of Mass Communication ). The human rights groups were represented by Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, Health Action for Human Rights’ Dr. Romeo Quijano, UCCP Justice, Peace and Human Rights Program Coordinator Jerome Baris, and artist Krista Dalena, convenor of Tanggol Bayi.

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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.