Karapatan: Capture of Palparan does not end impunity
Press Statement –
August 13, 2014
“Let’s get this straight. The arrest of Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan
does not end impunity in the country,” Karapatan secretary general
Cristina Palabay said a day after the capture of Palparan. “The
machinery of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that perpetuates
Palparan-style human rights violations against the Filipino people is
very much active in implementing Oplan Bayanihan,” Palabay said.
“The AFP generals and commanders who have the same anti-communist stance
as Palparan are in key positions and are calling the shots. They even
lauded Palparan’s campaign of terror against the so-called rebels that
actually victimized unarmed civilians,” Palabay added.
Palabay said Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of the Intelligence Service of the
AFP, who boasts of Palparan’s arrest is also accountable for numerous
violations such as the disappearance of agriculturist Jonas Burgos. Año
is said to have continued Palparan’s reign of terror in Central Luzon,
after Palparan’s stint in the region. “Aquino glorifies Palparan’s
protégés like Gen. Año by promoting them to higher positions in the AFP,
the same way Palparan was extolled by Gloria Arroyo then,” Palabay added.
“The arrest of Palparan will not improve the human rights situation in
the Philippines as long counterinsurgency programs are used to quell
people’s dissent instead of addressing the root causes of the armed
conflict,” Palabay said.
Palabay cited the case of University of the Philippines graduates,
Guiller Cadano and Gerald Salonga, whom the police and military abducted
and jailed on August 9. The illegal arrest, akin to that of the Morong
43 health workers jailed under the Arroyo regime, shows that the
abductions and the filing of trumped up charges by the AFP continue.
On July 27, 2014, hooded men abducted Benjie Gomez, who later ended up
in jail for trumped up charges of murder. Gomez is a staff of Dinteg
(Cordillera Indigenous People’s Legal Center) for its project “Enhancing
the Capacity of Indigenous Peoples on Human Rights-Based Approach to
Development” funded by the European Union.
Gomez is charged with the murder of Cpl. Marwin Ybanez who was allegedly
killed in an armed encounter between the AFP and the NPA in the
Municipality of Leon B. Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte in December 2012.
He is presently detained at the Bitoon, Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte
District Jail. There are two more trumped-up charges pressed against him
at the region’s Prosecutor Office.
“Extrajudicial killings continue,” Palabay said. She cited the case of
Hildegardo “Gil” Hernandez, a peasant organizer of Pagkakaisa ng
Magsasaka at Tagapagtaguyod ng Ikalawang Distrito ng Quezon (PAMATID-CQ)
who was shot in the afternoon of August 6 in a highway in Candelaria,
Quezon province by a motorcycle-riding man. The killer came off from the
motorcycle and shot Hernandez. Hernandez was already on the ground but
the killer continued to shoot the victim. Hernandez died on the spot.
As of June 30, 2014, Karapatan has documented 204 victims of
extrajudicial killings under the BS Aquino government. There are also 21
victims of enforced disappearances, 99 cases of torture, 664 illegal
arrests and detention, and 39,800 victims of forced evacuation.
“These rights violations perpetuated by the AFP and the Aquino
government will not be covered up the arrest of Palparan,” Palabay
reiterated, “for there are other Palparans in the AFP”.
Palabay specifically mentioned Palparan’s pal, Gen. Ricardo Visaya, who
is now the commander of the 4th ID in Northern Mindanao. Visaya, as
notorious as Palparan, is accountable for the gross human rights
violations in Hacienda Luisita, including the massacre in 2004 that
killed farm workers who protested their PhP 9 peso wage and devious land
distribution scheme within the hacienda.
Gen. Año is the incoming commander of the 10th Infantry “Agila” Division
in Davao Region. “This poses more threat to the people of the Davao
region, specifically Compostella Valley who are already faced with
terror by intense counter-insurgency operations,” Palabay said.
Gen. Año is also involved in the arrest of peace consultants of the
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Benito Tiamzon and
Wilma Austria-Tiamzon. The arrest is a violation of the Joint Agreement
on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the GPH and the NDFP. ###
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
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.
Palparan’s arrogance, a coward’s mask—Desaparecidos
Desaparecidos Press Release
August 13, 2014
“Siya pa itong mayabang, pero sa totoo lang duwag siya! (He is arrogant,
but in truth he is a coward!),” Aya Santos, Desaparesidos secretary
general said referring to Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan in reaction to
the latter’s “privilege” of holding a press conference yesterday at the
National Bureau of Investigation.
The families of the desaparecidos and other victims of Palparan were
particularly irked by his statement that what he did, the killings and
abduction of unarmed civilians, was for the “good of the people”.
“He even had the nerve to say that everything he did is for the people!
Ang kapal ng mukha!” said Santos. “Was it good for those who were
orphaned; was it good for those tortured? Was it good for those who were
molested and raped?” Santos asked.
“I wonder where Palparan gets his arrogance. What victory has he
achieved in the battlefield against the New People’s Army? All those
areas where he was assigned as commander are still considered by the
military as strongholds of the NPA,” Santos said.
“What he and his gang in the military claim as Palparan’s achievement is
the cold-blooded killing and disappearance of unarmed civilians he
victimized. What he cannot do in the battlefield, he does to those who
could not fight back. It’s disgusting!” Santos said. “Coward as he is,
he tried to elude arrest and escaped from his charges.”
Ret. Maj. Gen. Palparan is charged with two counts of kidnapping and
serious illegal detention for abducting and disappearance of University
of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan in June
2006. He eluded arrest for almost three years.
Raymond Manalo, a farmer from San Ildefonso, Bulacan who was also
abducted by the 56th Infantry Division, said he met the two women during
his military captivity at Camp Tecson. Manalo saw how the two women were
“Uniformed men like Palparan deserves nothing less than a conviction and
the highest form of punishment. This should be done swiftly,” Santos said.
Desaparecidos calls on all survivors and families of victims of Palparan
and his killer battalions to come out and tell their stories. “He should
be made accountable to ALL of his and his men’s sins,” Santos said.
From the initial count, Karapatan documented 38 enforced disappearances
in Central Luzon during Gen. Palparan’s reign, 12 in Eastern Visayas,
and five in Mindoro.
A gathering of the Palparan’s victims is scheduled on Friday, August 15,
to collectively call for Palparan’s conviction. ###
Reference: Aya Santos, secretary general
Contact Number: 09088121982/4354146