MANILA, Philippines – Aside from retired Major General Jovito Palparan, 2 other soldiers were tagged in the abduction of two University of the Philippines (UP) students in Bulacan in June 2006 – Army Colonel Felipe Anotado Jr and Master Sergeant Edgar Osorio.
The two are still active in the military service and are currently detained at the Army headquarters in Taguig City. The Army requested to take them into custody after the Bulacan court issued warrants of arrest against them and Palparan in December 2011.
Palparan fled and evaded arrest for almost 3 years. He fell to military operatives on August 12. (READ: Palparan falls: 'Naisahan 'nyo ako,' he tells soldiers)
Already retired, the Army could not make the same request for Palparan. Executive Order 106, which allows the military to take into custody soldiers facing criminal raps, doesn't apply to the retired general.
Anotado and Osorio have been detained at the Army Custodial Center since their warrants of arrest were served over their alleged roles in the disappearance and torture of the students. They have their own private lawyers representing them in the court case.
"This is based on the request of the Philippine Army citing Executive Order 106 wherein active members of the AFP may be detained for their safety in a military detention facility," said Philippine military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala when asked about their status.
Zagala said the Army custodial center are military jails that, like regular jails, restrict their movements. They cannot be deployed to join military operations, too.
The prosecution previously complained that keeping the two at the Army headquarters was special treatment but Zagala said Judge Teodoro Gonzales herself of the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 14 inspected and approved the detention facility.
Tagged as "The Butcher," Palparan is the face of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations during the Arroyo administration. He was the chief of the 7th Infantry Division which was responsible ofr military operations, and thus the counterinsurgency campaign, in Central Luzon.
Fellow soldiers, however, praise Palparan for his aggressive campaign against communist rebels.
Anotado was the chief of the Bataan-based 24th Battalion, a unit under the 7th ID, where a witness claimed he saw the two UP students after their disapperance in June 2006.
Witness Raymund Manalo, who was also kidnapped but managed to escape, also said it was Anotado who brought the two students to Palparan while they were detained at his camp.
Osorio was tagged by witness Wilfredo Ramos, who claimed he saw the soldier hogtie Cadapan and Empeno in a stainless jeepney.
Anotado and Osorio, through their private lawyers, later applied for bail but the local court denied it. (READ: Court denies bail for Palparan co-accused)
The court said, "The prosecution thus far had shown that evidence of guilt against the accused for said crimes is strong." – Rappler.com