Army admits hardship in arresting ‘The Butcher’-A A +A
Friday, August 15, 2014
ELUDING arrest from pursuing authorities for more than three years, the arrest of retired army general Jovito Palparan proved to be a difficult task, the military admitted.
“Finding and catching Palparan [was] difficult to do. Let us bear in mind that he is from the military and he knows what to do, where to hide without getting attention thus the three-year pursuit,” Major Christian Uy, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID), said Friday.
Palparan went into hiding in December of 2011 after the Bulacan Regional Trial Court issued a warrant for him and three other military officers for the abduction of two University of the Philippines students.
He was dubbed as “The Butcher” by leftists and civil society groups after he was accused of the numerous cases of killings of activists and individuals with alleged ties to the New People’s Army (NPA).
On Tuesday before daybreak, he was arrested in Sta. Mesa, Manila, beside a barangay hall and near a university, casting doubt that his apprehension is associated with the government’s cover up on issues and problems this country is facing.
The AFP’s Intelligence Service reported that Palparan hid in parts of Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Cagayan de Oro.
Uy said that 4ID had no reports on Palparan’s presence in the city.
“We (4ID) have no monitoring on that. If he had relatives here in the city, we cannot go directly to them and interrogate immediately. We follow protocols. And if ever we did that, Palparan might no longer come to the city and we would like to avoid that. He, moreover, has been closely monitored,” Uy said.
He assured that their intelligence team tasked to monitor Palparan was doing their job.
“His arrest is just coincidental with the problems in the country today. It is not a cover up or whatsoever,” he added.
Charges not enough
Although mothers of victims Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were abducted in 2006 and who until now have remained missing, are still hoping that their daughters are still alive, other civil society groups think that the case filed against Palparan is not enough.
“For us, it is unfair that only two cases were filed against Palparan after all he did. The two victims shed some light but mind you, there were hundreds of activists and leftists who this guy killed,” Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-10 (KMP-10) secretary general Richard Colao said.
According to KMP, out of the 1,208 people Palparan allegedly killed under his anti-insurgency campaign during former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration, 567 were farmers.
Palparan now faces kidnapping with serious illegal detention charges.
“With his arrest, somehow, we are happy. But justice will not be served until we see him rot in jail,” Colao said.
In a press release by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) last Tuesday, they believe that extra-judicial killings will still continue in spite of Palparan’s arrest.
“Indeed, the arrest of General Palparan has been effected, but his fascist legacy of extrajudicial killings and military terrorism continues to thrive under the Aquino regime,” the CPP said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 16, 2014.