MANILA, Philippines – The Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) has affirmed the conviction and the 40-year jail time of retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan and two other soldiers for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
“Finding no additional and/or new points raised to outweigh the settled position of the court, the Motion for Reconsideration as well as the Supplemental Motion, is denied for lack of merit,” said Malolos RTC Branch 15 Judge Alexander Tamayo in an order dated October 19.
Palparan and co-convicts Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and Staff/Sgt Edgardo Osorio were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or 40 years in jail over the disappearance of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.
The retired soldiers appealed to the Court that inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses “destroy their credibilities.”
Judge Tamayo said, however, that the arguments “dwelled on semantics with similar denotative meaning that put across what these witnesses intended to convey and could not be interpreted as to insinuate a different scenario.”
“Thus, these asseverations which they posited in their memorandum are a rehash of their previous stand which had been passed upon and resolved extensively in the assailed decision,” said Judge Tamayo. (READ: How are the Jonas Burgos and Palparan cases different?)
Anotado and Osorio sought to lessen their jail time by saying their voluntary surrenders merit a lesser penalty, saying that it was a mitigating circumstance.
Judge Tamayo declined the plea, citing rules.
Under the Revised Penal Code, reclusion perpetua is an indivisible penalty.
“The penalty being indivisible, the lesser penalty is reclusion perpetua. Thus, whether the mitigating circumstance is appreciated, still, the lesser penalty to be imposed is reclusion perpetua,” said Judge Tamayo.
Palparan, Anotado and Osorio are incarcerated at the New Bilibid Prison. – Rappler.com