Intensified manhunt for Palparan

Ang Bayan
January 7, 2012

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Various sectors have intensified the manhunt for retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. so he could face the criminal complaints filed at the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 14. The RTC issued arrest warrants on December 20 for Palparan and three co-accused in the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño and Manuel Meriño. Cadapan and Empeño were students of the University of the Philippines while Meriño was a peasant activist. They were abducted by Palparan's men in Hagonoy, Bulacan in June 2006.

Palparan attempted to flee the country on December 19 but was stopped at the airport by agents from the Bureau of Immigration. His co-accused Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio immediately surrendered while Palparan and his right-hand man M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario have since gone into hiding.

On December 27, members of KARAPATAN, relatives of the victims as well as other progressive organizations plastered posters stating “Wanted: Jovito Palparan Jr., aka ‘Berdugo’” in various areas of Metro Manila. The posters which can now be found along the metropolis' major thoroughfares were put up to call on the people to get in touch with KARAPATAN about any information on Palparan's whereabouts. The posters listed KARAPATAN's office telephone number (435-5146).

The wanted posters are part of the People's Manhunt launched on December 21. The campaign is being led by Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeño, mothers of the two missing women activists. They are supported by friends and members of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos), Victims United for Justice (Hustisya), Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Aresto at Detensyon (SELDA) and KARAPATAN. Their coordinated efforts have also spread to the internet. The Department of Justice has likewise raised the bounty for Palparan's capture to P1 million.

Various sectors have meanwhile assailed the PNP's failure to arrest Palparan and suspect that he is being harbored by active and retired AFP officers who were with him in implementing the Arroyo regime's brutal Oplan Bantay Laya and conspired with him in the commission of grave human rights violations. KARAPATAN has demanded that Malacañang order the expansion of the manhunt for Palparan to include military camps.