Witness says he saw Palparan with missing UP students
Inquirer Central Luzon
12:10 AM | Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
CITY OF MALOLOS—A farmer on Monday told the court here that he saw retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. with missing University of the Philippines (UP) students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in a military camp in Bulacan province in 2006.
Palparan and three other military officials are undergoing trial on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges.
During the resumption of the trial at the regional trial court, Raymond Manalo, 34, said he saw Palparan leading Empeño and Cadapan toward a van at Camp Tecson in San Miguel town in September 2006.
That was the second time he encountered Palparan, Manalo said during cross-examination led by Palparan’s counsel, lawyer Diosab Formilleza. The first time, he said, took place at a basketball court, also in San Miguel, in June or July 2006.
Manalo and his brother, Reynaldo, were abducted from their house in neighboring San Ildefonso town on Feb. 14, 2006, by armed men he suspected to be soldiers. He said he was recuperating from the ordeal when he was confronted by a man wearing a camouflage shirt and a cap.
“That man asked me if I knew he was General Palparan. I knew it was him, but I was so scared I replied, ‘No,’” he told the court.
Manalo said Palparan handed him money in exchange for assurance he would stop supporting communist rebels.
But Formilleza said he was able to discredit Manalo as a witness. He said Manalo executed five different affidavits, which, he pointed out, corrected some information that the farmer provided in previous ones.
Formilleza also asked Manalo to provide the court a proper timeline indicating when and where he allegedly encountered Palparan and identifying all the areas where he was taken during his purported abduction.
Lawyer Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers who serves the families of the missing UP students, said Manalo bolstered an earlier contention that Palparan was responsible for the kidnapping.
Olalia said the defense had been delaying the proceedings by asking what he described as “silly questions.” He referred to one query for photographic evidence to confirm Manalo’s allegations.
“How could they (Manalo and Palparan) have photos together while they are in a hostile situation?” Olalia asked.
The next hearing is scheduled for April 23. Olalia said he would present another witness, Oscar Leuterio, who was detained in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija and who encountered Empeño, Cadapan and other victims of alleged abduction by the military.
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