We express deep disappointment on the recent acquittal of retired Army major general Jovito Palparan, also known as the “Berdugo,” in the abduction and torture case of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo. This decision casts doubt on the justice system’s commitment to hold human rights violators accountable.
The acquittal of Palparan is a grave injustice to the victims and their families. It sends a chilling message that those who commit heinous crimes against innocent civilians can evade punishment.
The case of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo is a glaring example of the rampant human rights violations in our country. Their harrowing experience of abduction and torture highlights the urgent need for justice and accountability. The acquittal of Palparan only adds insult to the already deep wounds suffered by the victims and their loved ones.
This is also especially worrisome considering this acquittal occurs in an environment of red tagging and terrorist labeling [by] the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
All together, they embolden human rights violators to emulate Palparan to commit even more despicable acts like kidnapping, incommunicado detention, torture, and the like against innocents, just like what they did to the Manalos, Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha, as well as Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro.
Such an acquittal even with the facts found credible by the Supreme Court as the Manalo brothers recounted how they talked with Palparan and they were able to interact with Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan and Manuel Merino, but still the Regional Trial Court acquitted him.
We continue to stand in solidarity with human rights advocates, victims, and their families in demanding justice for all victims of human rights violations. This acquittal serves as a reminder that the fight against impunity and for the protection of human rights must be intensified.
We call on the government to ensure that justice is served, and that perpetrators of human rights abuses are held accountable. We urge the immediate filing of an appeal to rectify this grave miscarriage of justice.
In the pursuit of justice, we also call on the Filipino people to remain vigilant and united in defending human rights and upholding the dignity of every individual.
We will not be silenced in our quest for justice. We will continue to fight for the rights of all victims and ensure that those responsible for their suffering are held accountable.
ACT Teachers Party-list remains committed to championing the causes of human rights, justice, and accountability in the halls of Congress and beyond.