Suffer in prison? Palparan says he ‘enjoys’ Bilibid

Rambo Talabong
Suffer in prison? Palparan says he ‘enjoys’ Bilibid


'Hindi naman ako nahihirapan kasi mababait ang nakakulong dito,' says retired military general Jovito Palparan during his first morning at the national penitentiary

MANILA, Philippines – Saying his enemies should not rejoice just yet, convicted kidnapper Jovito Palparan said he was enjoying his stay at the New Bilibid Prison, so far.

The retired military general told media about his impression of prison life during his first morning in Bilibid on Thursday, October 4, after reporters were granted access to speak with him.

“Hindi pa rin matutuwa ang mga kalaban ko kasi mukhang nag-e-enjoy si General Palparan doon ah. Gusto kasi nilang makitang naghihirap ako e. Hindi naman ako nahihirapan kasi mababait naman ‘yung nakakulong dito,” Palparan said.

(My enemies still can’t be happy to see that General Palparan is enjoying it [here]. It’s because they want to see me suffer. But I am not suffering because the inmates here are nice.)

Palparan was transferred to the Bilibid from the Philippine Army Custodial Center in Fort Bonifacio after he was found guilty of the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of University of the Philippines student activists Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006. He was meted a life term.

For up to two months, Palparan would remain at the quarantine cell of Bilibid’s Reception and Diagnostic Center, where he shared a cell with 37 other convicts. (IN NUMBERS: The inmates of New Bilibid Prison)

‘Delicious meals’

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa butted in the media interview and showed journalists one of the plated meals on the RDC dining table.

Tingnan ‘nyo, ang sarap ng pagkain dito ha – chicken tinola. Sa halagang P60 ($1.10)* a day, 3 beses kakain: breakfast, lunch, at dinner (Look, the food here is delicious – chicken tinola. At P60 per day, 3 meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner),” Dela Rosa said as he pointed to a chicken leg on top of rice.

Dela Rosa was referring to the P60-daily meal allowance per inmate.

While the BuCor chief earlier said Palparan would not get special treatment, Dela Rosa seemed deferential to Palparan, who entered the military over a decade ahead of him.

Kayo, okay lang kayo sa pagkain na ito? Walang reklamo? (All of you are okay with this food? No complaints?)” Dela Rosa firmly asked the inmates who gathered behind Palparan. 

Walang reklamo (No complaints)!” the inmates shouted back.

Dela Rosa then turned to Palparan and, with a softer voice, asked: “Sir, ikaw, Sir, okay lang (Sir, how about you, Sir, are you okay)?”

“Yes, Sir,” answered Palparan. –

*$1 = P54.39

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.