Now the ‘butcher’ is arrested, Rights group urge speedy justice for HR victims

Aug. 13, 2014

DAVAO CITY—Human rights groups and rights advocates on Tuesday lauded the long overdue arrest of Ret. Gen. Jovito Palparan but urged the government to prosecute him immediately so “that justice will be served.”

On Tuesday, a group of the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Organized Crime Division and the Armed Forces’ Naval Intelligence Group arrested Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. around 3 AM in Sta, Mesa, A warrant of arrest was issued by Judge Teodora Gonzales of the Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in Malolos, Bulacan against Palparan on serious illegal detention and kidnapping charges of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Palparan went into hiding for three years after the issuance of the arrest warrant.

“No special treatment should be accorded to butchers like him. There should be no more delays in delivering justice, for the victims and their relatives have suffered far too long,” the human rights group Karapatan said.

In a text message to DavaoToday, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said  that “Palparan got help from government officials and that his lawyer knew where he was hiding all this time.”

According to Karapatan, “there were 71 victims of extrajudicial killings, 14 victims of frustrated killing, and five incidents of massacre from 2005 to 2006 when Palparan served as the Commanding Officer of the 7th ID, specifically, with the 24th IB known as the torture battalion.”

Tagged as the “berdugo (the butcher)”, Palparan “has committed some 332 human rights violations—extrajudicial killings, forced disappearance, frustrated murders and torture—in three areas where he was deployed from May 2001 to September 11, 2006.”

The group said that several human rights defenders were killed under Palparan’s term, namely:  Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy in Southern Tagalog; UCCP Pastor Edison Lapuz, Leyte; Atty. Fedelito Dacut, Leyte; Supreme Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.”

The rights group linked the ex-military general for the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sheryln Cadapan in June 2006 and for Jonas Burgos in April 2007.

“We call on all the victims and kin of Palparan to come out and file charges against him in court. He should not get away from his sins to the Filipino people,” Karapatan urged.

Sheena Duazo, Regional Secretary General of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan-SMR), said that “we will remain vigilant until he [Palparan] will be  convicted for the string of human rights violations he committed.”

Duazo, however, stressed that “there should be no special treatment for the barbaric ex-military general.”

Youth activists called for Palparan’s prosecution in a picket rally at Freedom Park.

They also called for the release of two UP Pampanga alumni, Gerald Salonga and Guiller Cadano, who were taken by authorities last August 9 in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

Both studied at the University of the Philippines Diliman Extension Program in Pampanga (UPDEPP). At the time of their arrest, Cadona was the regional chairperson of Kabataan partylist-Central Luzon while Salonga was an organizer of Anakbayan- Central Luzon.

It was reported that the two were allegedly abducted by the elements of 3rd Infantry Battalion but the local police denied the allegation and said that they “captured rebels.”

Kabataan Partylist Regional spokesperson Paul Nino Dotollo bewailed that the government continues to target young activists saying that “instead of supporting and answering our concerns, the Aquino government targets those of us who are active in achieving social change.”

Anakbayan Southern Mindanao spokesperson  Gelyn Alapag expressed her dismay over the incident and said that the harassment of activists and rights defenders continues to this day.

“The illegal arrest and detention of Salonga and Cadano proves that impunity is alive in the country,” Dotollo added. – with reports from Earl Condeza (

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