Philippines

Mothers of abducted UP students want to see Palparan in jail

The mothers of the two University of Philippines students, who disappeared in 2006, demanded on Monday that former Major General Jovito Palparan be detained in jail, and not in an army custodial center.

While they welcomed the conviction of Palparan for two counts of kidnapping with serious illegal detention, the mothers of abducted University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, said they want to see Palparan “rot” in jail.

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“Not in a military camp, not in some special detention. We want him in jail, like any other criminal. Let him rot in jail,” said a statement issued by Karapatan human rights group, quoting the victims’ mothers.

”We are only two of the many families who are happy with the court’s decision to convict Palparan. We are thankful that the courts recognized the truth in the testimonies of our witnesses, who have likewise suffered the same fate as our daughters,” the statement added, quoting Empeno’s mother, Concepcion.

Cadapan’s mother, Linda, meanwhile, hopes that Palparan’s conviction would be used to shed light on the fate of desaparecidos or the “disappeared” under his watch.

“We shall continue searching for our daughters, and together will the families of all those killed and disappeared, we shall continue searching for justice,” said Cadapan.

The Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Monday found former Major General Jovito Palparan guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention over the disappearance of Cadapan and Empeno in 2006.

Papalaran is currently detained at the Army Custodial Center in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City for his alleged role in the abduction and illegal detention of Empeno and Cadapan.

Aside from Palparan, also found guilty of the crime were Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Jr. and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.

Karapatan deputy secretary general Roneo Clamor echoed the mothers’ sentiments.

“We want to see him rot in jail, not in the company of fellow butchers who share the same contempt for human rights,” Clamor said in a separate statement.

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The Karapatan official also called on individuals to “remain vigilant” noting that Palparan’s former commander-in-chief, now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is back in power.

“The friendship of (President Rodrigo) Duterte and Arroyo can mean eventual pardon or reprieve for Palparan despite his conviction. After all, Duterte’s support for Arroyo’s resurrection is indicative that he willingly abets plunderers and murderers in his government,” Clamor alleged,

“We welcome the court’s decision, but we remain conscious of the changing political situation that is beneficial for fascists like Palparan to thrive and escape accountability. The Duterte regime has shown his contempt for human rights, its brazen use of the law to run after critics while shielding the real criminals. The butcher is convicted, but the fight for justice is far from over,” Clamor added.   /vvp

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