Rights groups challenge to DOJ: Stand by the victims of Palparan
Press Statement – http://www.karapatan.org/Rights+groups+challenge+to+DOJ%3A+Stand+by+the+victims+of+Palparan
October 16, 2014
“The Justice Department should know that the whole world is watching closely at how the prosecution of The Butcher Jovito Palparan develops. We want no less than the speedy conviction and detention of Palparan. As it is now, Palparan is as free as he was in the service, at home in a military headquarters,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
On September 25, an opposition was filed by the private prosecutors from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) on the transfer of custody of Gen. Palparan to the Philippine Army Custodial Center. The final decision of Judge Teodora Gonzales of Malolos RTC Branch 14 to Palparan’s transfer of custody is held in abeyance with the public prosecutor’s conformity with the private prosecutors’ opposition.
“We fear that the DOJ’s public prosecutors will not conform with the opposition of the legal counsels of Cadapan and Empeno. If that happens on the next scheduled hearing on October 21, the prosecution of Gen. Palparan is definitely in jeopardy,” Palabay said. “As early as now, we want a categorical statement from DOJ Sec. Leila De Lima and Malacanang that they will stand by the relatives of the missing students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, and all the victims of Palparan, and they will see to it that he will be brought to a civilian detention facility.”
“Our fears are not baseless,” Palabay said as she referred to the 2013 DOJ resolution that dropped high-ranking military officials, including Gen. Eduardo Ano, from the list of respondents in the disappearance of Jonas Burgos. Said resolution gave way to the confirmation of Año’s promotion despite opposition. The DOJ also absolved military officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police from any accountability and responsibility in the crime of torture committed against security guard Rolly Panesa.
“We will ensure that Palparan’s conviction will not go down the drain, unlike other human rights cases that the Department has handled,” Palabay added, as she also scored the DOJ-headed ‘superbody’.
In 2012, The BS Aquino government created a ‘superbody’ to look into the cases of grave rights violations through Administrative Order 35. In its two years, the ‘superbody’ not only served as “deodorizer of, but also as freezer for, human rights cases the government is supposedly investigating,” said Palabay.
Palabay cited the extrajudicial killing of the Italian priest, Fr. Fausto Tentorio on October 17, 2011 and the massacre of Juvy Capion and her two sons on October 18, 2012 by elements of the 27th Infantry Battalion. Both cases are among those lodged at the ‘superbody’ headed by the DOJ and are apparently “not going anywhere near justice,” she added.
Organizations under the umbrella of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) and rights group Karapatan staged a protest action today at the gates of the Department of Justice. ###
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580
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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.