Retired Army General Palparan, two others convicted for kidnapping UP studentsPosted on
DAVAO CITY (September 18) — The Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 15 convicted retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan for kidnapping and serious illegal detention relative to the disappearance of University of the Philippines (UP) students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno on June 26, 2006.
Aside from Palparan, Judge Alexander Tamayo also convicted two of Palparan’s co-accused Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Jr. and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.
Cadapan who was then 29, was a community organizer for a farmers group in Bulacan while Empeno, 22, was doing research on the plight of farmers in the province.
The two were kidnapped from a rented home in the town of Hagonoy in Bulacan province, by people believed to be soldiers.
The two were believed to have been raped, tortured and later killed by soldiers, but their bodies have not been found.
The parents filed charges against Palparan and his cohorts in 2011. When the court issued a warrant of arrest, Palparan went into hiding but was arrested in Sta. Mesa, Manila, in 2014.
Tamayo sentenced Palparan, Anotado and Osorio to reclusion perpetua, or 20 years and one day to 40 years imprisonment, and were ordered to pay P100,000 for civil indemnity and P200,000 for moral damages for each count.
Papalaran is currently detained at the Army Custodial Center in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.
Tamayo ordered them committed to the New Bilibid Prison.
Palparan, protested the conviction, shouting at the judge: “You’re a coward, judge! You’re such a coward!”
Tamayo warned Palparan that he would be cited for contempt, but the former general shouted: “It doesn’t matter. We will be jailed anyway. You’re such a fool.”
In a statement, military spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo said the armed forces submit “to the majesty of the courts and respect for the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), which provided legal assistance to Cadapan and Empeno’s families, welcomed the ruling, saying that “human rights violations will meet their match”.
“[Palparan’s] conviction sends the message that perpetrators of hideous human rights violations will meet their match in the fortitude of the mothers, the strength of the mass movement, the courage of human rights defenders, and the value of good lawyering for the people,” the NUPL said in a statement.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph