Families of the disappeared strongly condemns acquittal of Palparan, calls for justice and accountability in the Philippines

Photo by NNARA – Youth

Desaparecidos, an organization of families and friends of the disappeared in the Philippines, vehemently condemns in the strongest possible terms the shocking and unjust acquittal of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with serious physical injuries charges filed by farmer-brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo against Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan by Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Presiding Judge Francisco P. Felizmenio. This verdict not only perpetuates a culture of impunity but also sends a chilling message to all those who seek justice for the victims of human rights violations.

Raymond Manalo is a survivor of enforced disappearance and torture in the Philippines. He and his brother Reynaldo Manalo were abducted in February 2006 and detained for several months by members of the military. During their captivity, they experienced severe physical and psychological abuse, and cruel and degrading treatment.

After their escape, Raymond Manalo became a key witness in cases against Palparan and other military personnel accused of involvement in human rights violations, including enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killing, the most prominent of which was the enforced disappearance case of the two UP students, Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, where Palparan was found guilty. Raymond Manalo’s testimony played a crucial role in shedding light on the atrocities committed by the military in the Philippines.

Raymond Manalo’s courage in coming forward as a witness and their determination to seek justice for the victims of human rights abuses have made him a symbol of the struggle for human rights and accountability in the Philippines. The brothers’ case has received significant attention both nationally and internationally as it highlights the issue of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the country.

We stand firm in our commitment to justice, truth, and accountability for the countless victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. The acquittal of Palparan only serves to undermine the principles of justice, allowing those responsible for heinous crimes to evade responsibility.

Desaparecidos calls on the international community, human rights organizations, and all people of conscience to join us in demanding justice for the Manalo brothers and all victims of enforced disappearances. We will not rest until those responsible for these heinous crimes are held accountable for their actions, and justice prevails over impunity.#