MANILA, Philippines – The country’s most wanted man is arrested a stone’s throw away from a university considered to be the hotbed of activists.
After three years in hiding, former military general Jovito Palparan -- “The Butcher”-- falls.
Carmela Fonbuena reports.
The chase is over for the country’s most wanted fugitive, accused of ordering the torture, rape, and execution of 2 University of the Philippines students.
MAJOR GENERAL EDUARDO AÑO, ISAFP CHIEF: NISF operatives together with NBI were able to get a glimpse of General Palparan and then they served a warrant in the house of certain Grace Roa so warrant was served and General Palparan really did not resist the arrest.
Known as The Butcher, the retired general is the poster boy for extrajudicial killings and human rights violations during the Arroyo administration.
The Armed Forces chief asks the public to give Palparan the benefit of the doubt. The general has always been an anti-communist hardliner.
GENERAL GREGORIO PIO CATAPANG, AFP CHIEF: Noong tenyete kami, major siya. battalion commander siya ng 24th, ako assigned sa 69er battalion. magkasama kami niya. (He was major when we were lieutenants. He was the 24th (infantry division) battalion commander. I was assigned to the 69th battalion. We were allies.) [Q: How was he?] He was really an aggressive officer talagang strong anti-Communist. He really did his job well.
One person’s executioner is another man’s hero. Before his retirement in 2006, Palparan was a star in the State of the Nation address of President Arroyo, who praised the general for his patriotism.
GLORIA ARROYO, FORMER PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Sa mga lalawigang sakop ng 7th Division, nakikibaka sa paglaban si Jovito Palparan – hindi siya aatras hanggang makawala sa gabi ng kilabot ang mga pamayanan at maka-ahon sa bukang-liwayway ng hustisya at kalayaan.(For the provinces under the 7th Division, those participating in the fight of Jovito Palparan – he will not back down until the communities are freed from this night of terror and will rise to justice and freedom.)
He joined Congress in 2007 as representative of party list group Bantay and brought his war against leftist lawmakers to Congress. In 2010, he ran for the Senate along with former communist leader Satur Ocampo. They both lost.
In December 2011 a Bulacan regional trial court ordered his arrest for the disappearance of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno.
He goes into hiding before he is arrested and has been underground for 3 years.
The arrest of General Palparan is a reminder of the military's ugly human rights record and the danger when the means are justified to meet the goal of ending Asia's longest running insurgency.
It's a ghost that a supposedly reformed military needs to confront,especially now that it can boast of capturing one of its own. Carmela Fonbuena,Rappler, Manila. – Rappler.com