All in a day: Groups, kin of victims demand justice for Palparan victims

On April 22, families, friends and rights groups sought for the prosecution and jailing of former general, Jovito Palparan Jr., also known as “The Butcher” who had been involved in numerous cases of human rights violations in areas he was assigned in. 

A group led by the parents of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño trooped to the Malolos Regional Trial Court for the hearing of the kidnapping case against Palparan, who was has been conspicuously absent in Court since the hearings started in 2012. Palparan was charged for the disappearance of Empeño and Cadapan. The two students disappeared in 2006, seven years ago. 

Another protest action led by Karapatan-Southern Tagalog was held at the Department of Justice (DOJ), to press the Aquino government to take decisive steps to punish Gen. Palparan for the killing of Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy that happened 10 years ago. Marcellana was secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog while

Gumanoy was a peasant leader. Both were killed on their way back from a fact-finding mission in Mindoro Oriental. 
“In the courtroom or on the streets and in international fora, the families of Empeño, Cadapan, Marcellana and

Gumanoy had sought justice for the victims of Palparan and the AFP he represented. The cases had been long unsolved. Palparan is still nowhere in sight, as he continues to mock the justice system, and, with his more than a year as a fugitive, there is no indication that the Aquino government is serious in finding him,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan. 

The hearings of the kidnapping charges against Gen. Palparan and his cohorts have been going on without him, and with only the two co-accused Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio in attendance. The court though has no jurisdiction on his person, as long as he remains at large, thus prosecution proceedings against him and co-accused Rizal Hilario.  During the April 22 hearing, the legal counsels of the Cadapan and Empeño families presented two more witnesses to the abduction of the two UP students.    

Meanwhile, Palabay reiterated Karapatan’s call for the Aquino administration to “review the dismissal of charges against Palparan et al on the killings of Marcellana and Gumanoy and to heed the views of the UNHRC to provide effective remedy including initiation and pursuit of criminal proceedings to establish responsibility of the kidnapping and death of the victims; provide appropriate compensation to the victims' families; and take measures to ensure that such violations do not recur in the future."

Palabay added that, “Though the violations were committed during the Arroyo regime, it is now in the hands of Pres. Noynoy Aquino to prosecute and jail Palparan, his men and the likes of him in the AFP.