But he should just give up to save the AFP trouble, the AFP boss says
MANILA, Philippines – Armed Forces chief of staff Jessie Dellosa on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 said soldiers can arrest fugitive general Jovito Palparan if they see him, even if the military is not the lead agency in the manhunt on him.
“As far as I am concerned, he is now a fugitive, so he can be arrested anytime. Even an ordinary citizen can arrest him,” the military chief told reporters.
Dellosa and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin also asked Palparan to give up even as they downplayed reports soldiers are demoralized over the charges against him.
“To prevent the problem from getting serious, it is better if general Palparan would come out and face the charges hurled against him,” Gazmin told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.
“We will let the wheel of justice move. If he surrenders to us, then fine. We will turn him over to the proper authority,” said Gazmin, a retired general and former Army chief. “I don’t think it is necessary for us to give him such (legal assistance). He is no longer part of the military institution,” he said.
But Gazmin shared the appeal of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers for the public to refrain from trial by publicity against Palparan. “What they are saying is there should be no trial by publicity. Their statement is correct,” said Gazmin of the Agfo, which is composed of nearly 700 active and retired military and police generals and flag officers.
Not lead agency
In a separate interview, Dellosa said the military is playing a support role to the PNP in the manhunt against Palparan, who went into hiding since a Bulacan court issued an arrest warrant against him last month.
Dellosa said the military has not deployed soldiers to actively pursue Palparan, through the AFP-PNP Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center. “We are not lead agency on this,” he said of the manhunt operation.
Nevertheless, he said soldiers can arrest Palparan if they see him.
“It will be best for general Palparan to come out so he can at least face his case, at least prove that he is innocent and he is not guilty. That is the best course of action,” said Dellosa.
Dellosa sought to downplay perceptions that the military is neglecting Palparan by not helping him as the crime leveled against him was committed when he was in the active service.
“Actually, he is already a retired officer, he is no longer active. But to us (in the AFP), he has to face his case and prove that he is innocent. That is the best course of action. This provides him the opportunity to clear his name,” he added.
Dellosa also denied reports that military officers are demoralized over the charges against Palparan. “This has no effect on the troops. I assure you, this has no effect on our troops.” – Rappler.com