Jovito Palparan

Jovito Palparan is still guilty, CA rules

Rappler.com
Jovito Palparan is still guilty, CA rules

'THE BUTCHER' IN BILIBID. Retired Major General Jovito Palparan stays in a crowded quarantine jail facility inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

Adrian Portugal/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) The Court of Appeals upholds the conviction of retired general Jovito Palparan and two other Army officers

The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the conviction of retired general Jovito Palparan and two other Army officers in connection to the 2006 abduction and disappearance of two University of the Philippines students – Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Palparan and his co-accused, Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and Staff Sgt Edgardo Osorio, were convicted of kidnapping and serious illegal detention on September 18, 2018, by the Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 15.

They were sentenced to up to 40 years in prison and were each ordered to pay P100,000 in civil indemnity and P200,000 for moral damages. They appealed this by questioning the testimonies against them, but the CA still found the accounts to be credible.

What witnesses saw

The prosecution throughout the trial presented witnesses farmer Raymond Manalo and Wilfredo Ramos Jr, who both testified seeing Cadapan and Empeño at a military cell.

Manalo said that around the time of the women’s abduction, he was also kidnapped by the military on suspicions that he was also a communist rebel. There, he claimed to have spoke with Palparan twice.

The witnesses said they saw the military men torture and sexually molest Cadapan and Empeño, who were then 29 and 22 years old respectively.

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What the CA says

“The prosecution evidence is credible, clear and categorical,” the CA’s First Division said in a 61-page decision written by Associate Justice Angelene Mary Quimpo-Sale.

It added: “The facts established the concerted acts of the 3 accused-appellants aimed at carrying out the unlawful intent of taking and detaining the 2 victims,” the CA ruled

The CA found that inconsistencies pointed out by Palparan and his co-accused were inconsequential to the case and saw them as indications that they were not rehearsed. 

What comes next?

With a loss at the CA, Palparan and his co-accused could still go to the Supreme Court. There, the decision could also be upheld or reversed.

Aside from affirming the lower court’s decision, the CA also modified the P100,000 civil indemnity and P200,000 moral damages awarded to Empeño and Cadapan’s families for them to be subject to 6% interest per year from the date of finality of the decision until full payment.

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What is the public’s reaction?

In a statement on Sunday, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia saw the CA ruling as “a loud and clear warning to those who entertain the thought that they are invincible and untouchable just because they are in power.” – Rappler.com