Raymond Manalo faces his abductor-torturer
Press Statement –
February 16, 2015
Raymond Manalo, a victim of enforced disappearance, testified before the Bulacan Regional Trial Court that he saw the two missing students of the University of the Philippines held captive and tortured by Gen. Palparan’s men. During his captivity, Manalo personally met Gen. Palparan, or “Lolo”, as his soldiers called him.
Today, Manalo faced Gen. Palparan in court as he described in detail how Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno were tortured and abused by their captors.
“We want the public to know the kind of savagery of Gen. Palparan and his men did to their victims. If the death of the 44 SAF men who were armed and trained for war is described as brutal, the torture, mutilation, massacres and death of many unarmed Filipino citizens committed by butcher generals like Palparan is definitely heinous,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson.
At today’s hearing, Palparan was heavily secured with armed men in uniform and others in civilian clothes. They filled the whole courtroom while human rights workers and supporters of petitioners Mrs. Connie Empeno and Mrs. Linda Cadapan were not allowed entry. Manalo was even frisked by the sheriff for firearms upon entry in the courtroom and before taking the witness stand.
Manalo, a poor farmer from San Ildefonso, Bulacan was abducted with his older brother Reynaldo by the 24th Infantry Battalion under the command of then Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan on Valentine’s day in 2006. The soldiers were looking for Manalo’s other brother Bestre, allegedly a member of the New People Army. The Manalo brothers were held captives by the military for one and a half years. They were brought to several camps in Central Luzon and where they were tortured.
Sometime in 2006, at Camp Tecson , San Miguel, Bulacan, he met Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeno and Manuel Merino. He was ordered by the soldiers to bring food to the prisoners in some cells. He did not know he was delivering food for Sherlyn, who was then chained to a bed.
He, along with Reynaldo, Merino, Cadapan and Empeno were brought to Limay, Bataan where an unofficial military camp was set up. Manalo told the court in gory details how the two women were heavily tortured and molested after being caught trying to give a letter to Sherlyn’s mother-in-law. Manalo also recalled the killing and burning of Merino.
“With the testimony as strong as Raymond Manalo’s, Gen. Palparan should be quickly convicted for his crime of torture and disappearance of two students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan,” added Hilao-Enriquez.
Hilao-Enriquez was with a team from Karapatan, the Commission on Human Rights then led by Leila de Lima, and Dr. Francisco Datar of the UP Anthropology Department which conducted an investigative mission at Limay, Bataan in 2008. “Raymond Manalo tried very hard to recall the dark memories of where things happened,” Hilao-Enriquez said. “After some time, despite the terrible headache brought by painful and violent memories, Raymond pointed to the spot where he saw Merino shot, burned and buried,” Hilao-Enriquez continued.
“In the site pinpointed by Raymond, charred human bones and yellow slippers were found. Raymond recalled Manuel Merino had been wearing yellow slippers. This proved that Raymond Manalo’s statement is undisputable,” Hilao-Enriquez said.
“The facts are glaring. Yet, the trial against Palparan has dragged on. For almost five years now, BS Aquino has proven he is incapable of rendering justice to Karen Empeno, Sherlyn Cadapan, Manuel Merino and Raymond Manalo, and to the many other victims of human rights violations committed by his regime. With the Mamasapano carnage, he has proven that he cannot even protect his own forces. It would be best if he steps down right now,” Hilao-Enriquez concluded. ###
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.