Mothers of disappeared UP students: Badoy's Palparan interview "a travesty of justice"

Photo by Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Mothers of disappeared UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan called “a travesty of justice” yesterday’s interview of NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy of convicted retired general Jovito Palparan, but at the same time called it “a cheap, desperate attempt to vindicate criminals and rights violators.”

“It is nauseating, to say the least, to see Palparan and this Badoy trying so hard to salvage the face of the ‘berdugo’ (butcher) for two hours, when Palparan is now a convicted criminal. The courts have convicted him, with overwhelming evidence and witness testimonies, for taking away our daughters. What a travesty of justice!” exclaimed Concepcion Empeño, mother of Karen.

Badoy herself said that the interview, aired on the show Laban Kasama ang Bayan on SMNI, was done to “vindicate” Palparan, after being convicted in 2018 of two counts of kidnapping with serious illegal detention with the abduction and disappearance of Karen and Sherlyn.

Empeño also questioned why the interview was allowed in the first place.

“They gave the convicted Palparan all the freedom to speak to the public. How about our daughters, did he give them a chance to speak and defend themselves? No! They remain missing to this day, for 15 years, while Palparan is alive and well,” Empeño said.

Desaparecidos, the organization of families of victims of enforced disappearance, also raised the alleged special treatment that Palparan is enjoying while at the New Bilibid Prisons Muntinlupa, where he is sentenced by the courts to serve reclusion perpetua under maximum security.

On the other hand, Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn, condemned the NTF-ELCAC that has further sown injustice and rights violations, that “many more fell victims after our daughters and even after the likes of Palparan was put to jail.”

“To this day, Palparan continues to vilify our daughters and justify their abduction and disappearance. We say again, with the strongest conviction, that never should any person be subject to enforced disappearance. This act of Palparan, and Badoy, is a cheap, desperate work of thieves. They stole our daughters, and those who continue to employ abduction and enforced disappearances should be held accountable for the rest of their lives, like what they did to us, as we remain searching for our missing loved ones,” Cadapan explained.

“The NTF-ELCAC is mocking the partial justice we attained by holding accountable Palparan on the disappearance of Karen and Sherlyn. This is why we are one in its abolition because with the continued existence of NTF-ELCAC, the government continues in its systematic red-tagging of activists and persons resulting in real life harm on them. We call on whoever will be elected president to abolish the NTF-ELCAC, to help the victims of killings, enforced disappearances and other rights violations, and to see to it that the likes of Palparan, Badoy, red-taggers, human rights violators and ‘butchers’ will see their day in court,” said Cadapan.