Palparan files motion to remain at NBI, cites security fears
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Retired Major General Jovito Palparan has filed an urgent motion to remain at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), where he is currently detained, citing security concerns.
Palparan filed the motion before the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 14 on Thursday, August 14 – a day after the court ordered him detained at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.
In his motion, the military official said that the commitment ordered issued by Judge Teodora Gonzales “may have been hastily issued without taking into consideration the apprehensions and fears of the accused for his life’s safety and security.”
“The military intelligence reports about an NPA liquidation squad out to kill MGen Jovito Palparan Jr, AFP (Ret) made public by top honchos of the AFP the day after the arrest of the accused on 12 August 2014 only strengthens such fears and apprehensions,” the motion read.
Palparan and 3 other military personnel are charged with two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in connection with the 2006 abduction University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno.
Reacting to Palparan’s motion, Edre Olalia, counsel of the Cadapan and Empeno families, said in a text message to Rappler that Palparan's motion to remain at the NBI is "not based on law, impractical, contradictory."
"Mere motion not above and cannot unilaterally supersede court order," Olalia said.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had earlier expressed the same security concern in moving Palparan to the Bulacan jail. (READ: Palparan in Bulacan jail? De Lima cites 'constraints')
On the day of his arrest, Palparan had said that he can be jailed anywhere for as long as his security will be secured, as he does not want "to die in the hands of the enemy."
He was apparently referring to the threat of communist rebels, since he headed the counterinsurgency campaign under the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2006. (READ: TIMELINE: The search for Jovito Palparan)
'Palparan case important precedent in PH, SEA'
The United Nations Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia (OHCHR) on Thursday stressed the importance of the Palparan case not only for the Philippines but for the region.
“Ensuring justice in this case will set an important precedent for the Philippines and South East Asia region, where impunity remains an issue of serious concern,” the OHCHR said in a statement.
It welcomed the arrest of Palparan as "an important step towards addressing impunity for serious human rights abuses in the Philippines.”
The OHCHR recalled that after his official mission to the Philippines in 2007, UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston recommended that “as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the President must take concrete steps to put an end to those aspects of counterinsurgency operations which have led to the targeting and execution of many individuals working with civil society organizations."
“We recognize the current efforts of the Aquino administration to follow-up on the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur, and further encourage the Government to take additional steps to strengthen the rule of law and accountability mechanisms,” the OHCHR said.
Palparan, on the run for over 3 years, was nabbed by the Armed Forces’ Naval Intelligence Group and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at his safehouse in Sta Mesa, Manila, on Tuesday, August 12. Leftist groups and human rights activists call him "The Butcher" because of his alleged history of human rights abuses. – Rappler.com