MANILA, Philippines – At 7 a.m. on Friday, January 13, 2012, a group of more than 70 armed men hunting for retired Major General Jovito Palparan searched the Davao City home of former Bantay party list nominee Ramon Teodoro Garcia.
Palparan is at large on charges of abduction and serious illegal detention, along with former Master Sergeant Rizal Hilario. Garcia, 63, who claimed he is a friend of the retired general for almost a decade, said he was at home in Las Terrazas, Barangay Ma-a with his wife, daughter and 4-year-old grandson when men wearing bulletproof vests arrived riding about 15 vehicles. He was informed that there was a tip Palparan may be hiding in his home. He was quickly shown the warrant, but was unable to read it.
“They didn’t let me read the warrant nor did they give me a copy of such warrant,” said Garcia in an initial posting on his Facebook account.
The armed men allegedly inspected every room of his home, and found no one in hiding. Garcia admits the men were courteous in their search. However, in an interview with Rappler, Garcia said that he was overwhelmed by the show of strength. He said he did not demand a copy of the warrant.
“When you’re confronted with so many people with helmets and bulletproof vests in full battle gear, you don’t ask. If I did, do you think they would have stopped?” he said.
Garcia, himself a former columnist for the SunStar and Mindanao Times, said he did not go to the media with the story, choosing instead to post on Facebook. He said that his family was affected by what they experienced, and added that he would have been happier had officials put his home under surveillance instead of traumatizing his family.
Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said the government is still pursuing other leads in their search for Palparan.
Garcia does not intend to file a complaint, as he believes no justice is forthcoming. He said he does not know whether Palparan is innocent or guilty, but noted the the retired general is in hiding “because the yellow administration is bowing to the whims of the communists.”
“I do not know if he will get caught sooner or later. I still wish him godspeed and a long healthy life. What can I say, except that he is a friend.”
Garcia said Palparan was under orders during his term to go after the NPA and other enemies of the state. He shared that it saddens him that now it is Palparan that is considered an enemy of the state. – Rappler.com