MANILA, Philippines – Public prosecutors declined to join a petition filed by private lawyers before a local court to transfer retired Major General Jovito Palparan from the army custodial center in Fort Bonifacio to a regular jail.
The Malolos Regional Trial Court on Monday, October 20, did not act on the motion since it needed the conformé of the Department of Justice to be valid.
Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera told reporters that government lawyers did not back the move due to "valid and credible threats" to the life of Palparan.
The retired general is facing charges over the 2006 kidnapping and serious illegal detention of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan. Three other soldiers are also accused in the case.
Palparan was moved to the Army Custodial Center from the Bulacan provincial jail after the local court granted his petition despite the prosecution's argument that Palparan's status as a retired general bans him from being allowed into military custody.
Leftist groups have slammed the alleged special treatment for Palparan, saying that detaining him in a military was just like a coming home affair for him.
Private prosecutors from the National Union of People's Lawyers representing the families of Cadapan and Empeño filed on September 25 a separate motion to move Palparan to a regular jail. This cannot be taken up by the court, however, without the approval of government lawyers.
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.