Karapatan strongly condemns dismissal of kidnapping charges vs Palparan et.al.

October 6, 2023

Karapatan strongly condemns Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Francisco Felizmenio’s dismissal of charges against retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan in the case of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with serious physical injuries filed by farmer-brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo. The case was filed by the Manalo brothers in 2016.

We are enraged at how this dishonorable court junked the truthful, credible and consistent accounts of the Manalo brothers, which have been affirmed many times over by several courts including the Supreme Court, when they stood as key witnesses against Palparan et.al. in the abduction and disappearance of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno. Palparan et.al. were found guilty, convicted and sentenced with reclusion perpetua in a Malolos court in 2018.

We are appalled at how this court crassly disregarded the history and legal battle that the case of the Manalo brothers have gone through for 16 years since he was abducted by Palparan’s men in 2007. This court’s unspeakable, dastardly act invalidated the abduction, enforced disappearance, torture, and sufferings endured by the Manalo brothers. Is this part of a grand scheme that will enable Palparan et.al.’s pardon in the near future?

Clearly, the case of the Manalo brothers is a dire example of how lopsided the justice system is, making it extremely hard for brave ordinary folks like Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, to pursue justice, and demand accountability from all perpetrators of enforced disappearances, torture, and all other human rights violations.

We will continue to hold accountable State agents who are perpetrators of such crimes, however way they spin the convoluted narratives against the victims and try to hoodwink the public.

There are numerous other Palparans and butchers in our midst – those in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, agents and officials of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) – who, with wanton disregard for existing human rights norms, have blatantly violated the rights of thousands with impunity. Presidents, then and now, have feigned ignorance of the existence and commission of these crimes, but under their watch, they have gleefully promoted, hailed and encouraged these butchers in uniform.

Enforced disappearances and torture have been committed through the years, in the name of counterinsurgency, in vile attempts to silence dissent, curtail rights and maintain the status quo of oppression and exploitation of the Filipino people.

We continue to support the Manalo brothers and all survivors of abduction and torture for standing strong against these challenges. We encourage the victims, their loved ones and the public to uphold and defend the rights of those who were wronged by the State and to stand resolute amid pervasive impunity and continuing rights violations, as we reaffirm our commitment to help in pursuing full accountability of all violators of human rights and international humanitarian law.