MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights on Monday, September 17, calls the conviction of retired army major general Jovito Palparan an “important judgment” as it proves the long arm of the law.
“This is an important judgment as it sends a strong signal that victims of human rights violations are still able to secure justice so long as there is a strong will on the part of the victims, their lawyers, and the human rights defenders who support them to hold perpetrators to account,” CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon said.
Palparan on Monday was found guilty of kidnapping and illegal detention by the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15 for the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan a dozen years ago, in 2006. (READ: People of the Philippines vs Jovito Palparan)
The conviction comes 4 years since he was arrested. Prior to that arrest, he went into hiding in response to Malolos RTC's arrest order. (TIMELINE: The search for Jovito Palparan)
Aside from Palparan, also convicted were Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt Edgardo Osorio.
Gascon pointed out that the verdict is only “one case of a positive outcome compared to far too many other cases of human rights violations from years back that remain unresolved.”
“The law enforcement and justice institutions should do more to ensure that impunity is addressed in this country,” he said.
Capadan and Empeno are among the 1,996 documented cases of enforced disappearance in the Philippines. At least 1,165 remain missing from this list, while 244 were found dead. (READ: What you need to know about enforced disappearances in the Philippines)
Human rights groups tag the decorated general as berdugo, or "The Butcher," for alleged human rights abuses he committed at the height of intense counter-insurgency operations under the Arroyo administration. – Rappler.com