P.5-million reward set for ex-general’s arrest

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011


MANILA –- Police offered a P500,000 bounty for the arrest of former Army major general Jovito Palparan, who on Tuesday asked a local court to recall the arrest warrant issued against him.

The reward hopefully will prompt Palparan to surrender, Philippine National Police Director General Nicanor Bartolome said. "This will hasten either his surrender or information from individuals interested in the reward money. Hopefully, hopefully, he will surrender very soon."

Besides seeking a recall of his arrest warrant, Palparan also asked Judge Teodora Gonzales of Malolos, Bulacan to lift an order that has disallowed him from leaving the country.

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Earlier, the court allowed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to arrest Palparan and disallow him from leaving the country. Arrest warrants were also issued against Army Staff Sergeant Edgardo Osorio, Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado of the 25th Infantry Battalion (IB) and retired Major Sergeant Rizal Hilario of the 24th IB after finding judicial probable cause against them.

Palparan said the charges he is facing -- kidnapping and serious illegal detention of two missing University of the Philippines students -- are different from those that he and his co-accused have been investigated.

In his eight-page motion, Palparan said they were only investigated for rape, serious physical injuries, arbitrary detention, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats, grave coercion, violation of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment.

He said he only submitted evidence related to these charges in his counter-affidavit.

As a result, when prosecutors found probable cause to indict him for kidnapping and serious illegal detention -- on which his arrest warrant is based -- it violated the Constitution, Palparan further said.

"The rights of the accused to due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them were violated in the filing of the Information in the instant case. Consequently, the issuance by this court of the WOA (warrant of arrest) as well as of the HDO (hold-departure order) is bereft of any factual and legal basis. The information, WOA and HDO suffers from the same legal infirmities. Necessarily they should be Quashed and/or Recalled to save the accused from further suffering and injustice,” he said.

This is persecution, Palparan said.

“Obviously, the State not only had to dig deeper into their magic bag but altogether tossed to the wind established rules of procedure to come up with non-bailable offense of kidnapping to insure that M/Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., is deprived of his temporary liberty during the pendency of the cases,” he said in his motion.

Meanwhile, Bartolome said authorities have received "surrender feelers" from the northern, central and southern Philippines, indicating that Palparan is still in the country.

"We certainly welcome it. It will certainly ease the burden of looking for General Palparan if he would voluntarily surrender to people he is comfortable with," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

"The surrender feeler is one thing. The actual surrender is another, that is why we have initiated the release of the reward money," Bartolome also said.

In June 2006, Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño, and a certain Manuel Merino were abducted by suspected military men in Hagonoy, Bulacan on suspicion they were members of the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Raymond Manalo, one of several witnesses, has testified in court that he met Empeno and Cadapan while the three were in the custody of army officers under Palparan in 2006. He said military authorities suspected they were communist guerrillas or sympathizers. Manalo said he later escaped from military detention.

Palparan has denied involvement in the disappearance of Empeno and Cadapan. The two remain missing.

Osorio and Anotado are already in the custody of the PNP while Palparan and Hilario remains at large. (JCV/Jill Beltran/Sunnex/AP)

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