Few people realize that the practice of inflicting torture on a person is a most despicable act of cowardice, aside from its being a violation of a human right.  It is a manifest show of one’s inability to face squarely a considered adversary in a fair engagement or fight. It is an admission of inferiority and weakness which the torturer covers up by a treacherous show of power and strength. He insures for himself a highly advantageous position vis-à-vis his victim whom he is otherwise afraid to engage in a level-playing-field face to face encounter. He delights in seeing the helplessness and immeasurable pain suffered by his victim.

Jovito Palparan is a classic model of such criminal with a grave mental sickness. His psychological affliction seeps deep into the dark recesses of his soul. His is a brand of sadism at its utmost, at its beastly diabolic worst.

We can surmise that his torturous practices emanate from his own pathetic realization that he is a nobody, that he is a non-entity, that he is a weakling. And that therefore he is some kind of a “kulang sa pansin”. But in order to gain recognition, he needed to appear strong to mask his utter weakness and wretchedness. He must therefore take advantage of the opportunities offered by the nature of the tasks in the military service. He knew that he could not be equal to the career soldiers who graduated from the PMA. And so he must show his mettle by achieving excellence in the field of the “art of torture” — not so much impelled by a mission to ferret out information as to experience ecstatic pleasure at the sight of his victim writhing in agonizing pain or suffering from the throes of impending death.

But Palparan did not even do the torturous deeds himself. His equally sick lieutenants would do them for him. As in the testimony of Raymond, Palparan would appear and identify himself to his victim at a climactic point in the whole process of the torturous event. In a figurative sense, it is like the appearance of devil-king Lucifer himself after all the little satanic minions under him have had their day.

However, it is well to know and understand the context within which the diabolic manifestations of his mental ailment are given free play and salute of praise by the Military hierarchy.   It is well to realize that in the over-all functions of the military establishment, the art of torture is an ingredient of the so-called Intelligence work of the Armed Forces of the State . Its practice is premised on the ideology of repression of the lower classes in society—an ideology that denies the rationale for just and humane governance, and recognizes only the supreme interest of the State as the apparatus that promotes and protects the interest of the ruling elite.

And as in all other forms of art in a neo-colonial society like the Philippines, the art of torture was introduced to the Philippine military by the Americans. It was the American colonial authorities who established the foundation and organization of the armed forces of our country. Understandably, the AFP, the PC, and the Police derived all their knowledge and skills in military science and tactics from their American military mentors. All the generations of Filipino generals and soldiers have been equipped with education in military science and tactics from the Americans since the beginning of US colonial rule in the Philippines.

That is why even the specific torture techniques used by our military personnel got their codenames from the US trainors. Palparan’s use of the “water cure” is not his original idea and invention. It is just one of those torture devices popularized by the American troops in their pacification campaign in Mindanao and in their involvement in the anti-Huk counter-insurgency operations in Central Luzon.

And so, Palparan tried all he could to achieve notoriety and excellence in the art of torture.   But as a veritable berdugo ng bayan, he has embarrassed the government and ‘perhaps’ a small fraction of the Philippine Military establishment in spite of its own hypocrisy. The unusual extent and brutal ways with which he conducted his anti-insurgent mission has scandalized the ruling classes who run the State. And so President Noynoy, upon the popular demands for decency and justice by the citizenry, could not but accede, if reluctantly, to the just indignation and injunction of the crying public. But at the same time, he is trying all he can to utilize Palparan’s notoriety as a propaganda shield for his administration’s survival amid attacks of misrule and misgovernance from all quarters of the society.

To be sure, Palparan has left a legacy of Satanic barbarity and impunity among the Filipino soldiery. He would not be the last of the devils spat out from throats of hell. The “trail of blood” as traceable to the different areas and places where he and his mindless minions have sunk their boots on untrodden meadows and unfurrowed fields are sprouting like sharp stones and pointed pebbles that could not but prick the conscience of history. Our people who walk the pathways in the long trek to genuine democracy and justice will have their soles inevitably stained with the blood of continuing struggle until the end.

Postscript.  Behold Palparan now in the hands of his captors. As a craven dog with its tail between its legs, he is now constantly cowering, trembling with fear. He seems afraid of his own shadow!   A manifestation of karma—to the superlative degree!

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