Court OKs Palparan transfer to army custodial center
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Malolos Regional Trial Court on Monday, September 15, granted the motion of retired major general Jovito Palparan to be transferred from the Bulacan provincial jail to the custodial center of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio.
Palparan, along with 3 others, is charged with the 2006 kidnapping and serious illegal detention of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan. Witnesses claim the women were tortured, raped and held under the orders of the former partylist representative.
In a statement, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay condemned the court's decision, calling it President Benigno Aquino III's "belated birthday gift to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)'s icon of impunity."
"The military moved heaven and earth for this, as what they have done to protect their own and justify the numerous human rights violations committed," she added.
Palparan earlier asked the court to transfer him either to the Philippine Army Custodial Center or at the detention center of the Intelligence Agency of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) in Camp Aguinaldo over alleged threats to his life.
This came after the Bulacan court rejected his petition to remain in the custody of the National Bureau of of Investigation.
Palparan's latest motion to be transferred was granted despite the prosecution's argument that Palparan's status as a retired general bans him from being allowed into military custody.
Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap slammed the court decision, saying that handing over Palparan to the military was akin to freeing him from criminal liability.
“The transfer was an out ward smack insult to all the victims of Palparan’s bloody campaign against civilians who he perceived as enemy of the state, activists and ordinary masses of peasants, workers, students urban poor and church workers alike” the leftist lawmaker said.
“Inside the AFP custody, Palparan will be treated as a hero and not as a criminal. He is literally free as a bird in the military camp," he added.
Palparan is tagged as berdugo or the butcher by human rights activists but is hailed by his military peers for his campaign against communism during the Arroyo administration.