Jovito Palparan, the once powerful general, is now in Bilibid

Lian Buan

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Jovito Palparan, the once powerful general, is now in Bilibid


'The mothers as well as the other victims and their relatives can sleep at peace for now,' says the National Union of People's Lawyers

MANILA, Philippines – Retired army major general Jovito Palparan will spend the first night of his up to 40-year sentence at the national penitentiary, far from the comforts of the military detention he has enjoyed the past four years.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed to reporters that Palparan was moved to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) 7:45 pm on Wednesday, October 3. 

Palparan was found guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in the 2006 disappearance of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan. He will serve a sentence of up to 40 years at the NBP.

As for the mothers and relatives of Empeño and Cadapan, “they can sleep at peace for now,” said Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).

The NUPL, which represents the families of Empeño and Cadapan, has been pressing the military for the transfer for weeks.

Tonight the NUPL learned along with the media that the transfer was finally done, with Olalia calling it “surreptitious and far from the klieg lights he revelled in during his arrogant heydays.”

The NUPL accused the military of coddling Palparan and acting in contempt of court for delaying the transfer.

Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 15 convicted Palparan on September 17. 

Judge Alexander Tamayo was clear on the day of the conviction that Palparan was to be immediately moved to Bilibid. Tamayo issued a commitment order to Bilibid on the same day.

It took the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 17 days to execute the transfer.

Palparan stayed in Fort Bonifacio for the 4 years he was on trial.

Also transferred were Palparan’s fellow convicts Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and Staff Sargeant Edgardo Osorio.

The transfer happened because Tamayo denied the appeal of the Philippine Army for Palparan to continue staying at the military camp in Fort Bonifacio because of a pending case at another branch of the Malolos court.

Olalia said that the Army filed its appeal on September 24, “which means that the Army decided on its own to keep Palparan in its custody, contrary and in violation of a clear court order.”

“We will make those who coddled him accountable for later,” said Olalia. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.