BULACAN, Philippines - The failure to present retired Major General Jovito Palparan Jr before the Regional Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan, is in defiance of a standing commitment order.
"[Those ordered to present Palparan] are defying the standing order of the court," said lawyer Melba Agustin-David, Clerk of Court of Branch 14 of the Malolos Regional Trial Court.
Branch 14 was the same court that signed the warrant in December 2011 for Palparan's arrest. The former party list congressman was charged with the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of University of the Philippines students Sheryl Cadapan and Karen Empeno.
Judge Teodora Gonzales of the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in Bulacan issued the order on Wednesday, August 13, a day after the military official’s arrest. The order requires Palparan's presentation before the Malolos court and his commitment at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.
“The Chief of the Security Management Division of NBI, Manila, who is in custody of the person is hereby directed to produce him before this Court and to commit him at the Bulacan Provincial Jail immediately upon receipt hereof,” the court said.
Melba said the NBI received the order Wednesday, August 13, at 2 pm.
"If you are trying to consider a reasonable traveling time, more than enough time has been given to them to produce the body of the accused."
But the court is not taking any action against the National Bureau of Investigation, which has current custody of Palparan.
"It's part of leniency in the interest of justice, we have the standing order but for practical reasons we have to be lenient," Melba said.
Palparan on Thursday, August 14, filed an urgent motion asking the court to allow him to remain at the NBI, citing security reasons.
Branch 14 said the standing order takes precedence over the urgent motion.
Melba conceded that security is often a concern, but added it was surmountable, enumerating the detention of Janet Napoles, businessman Delfin Lee and senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada.
"There will be worries about security if it's transfers are not well coordinated with coordinated with the proper security offices. There was no coordination, maybe that is why they're worried about security."
In response to Palparan's the urgent motion, Judge Gonzales filed Thursday an order requiring parties concerned - the prosecution, the Chief Security management Division of the NBI Detention Facility and the Provincial Jail Warden - to file their respective comment or opposition to the motion within a period 2 days.
The hearing on where Palparan will be committed will take place on Monday, August 18, at the same time as the defense panel's presentation of evidence.
As of posting, the NBI has yet to transfer Palparan. This means Monday is the earliest the NBI can fulfill the standing order, as the Malolos court will be closed on Friday, August 14, for the city holiday. - Rappler.com