La Trinidad, Benguet ,Philippines – New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas are also hunting down former military general Jovito Palparan.
Marco Valbuena, Communist Party of the Philippines information bureau chief, said the CPP central committee has ordered the NPA and left-leaning organizations to “closely look into reports of Palparan’s presence in their areas of responsibility and take immediate action.”
Palparan was charged with the kidnapping, illegal detention and torture of students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, who were kidnapped with peasant activist Manuel Merino in Hagonoy, Bulacan in 2005.
“It is a matter of obligation to the Filipino people and state responsibility that the people’s democratic government undertake the necessary measures to put General Palparan under its duly authorized judicial organs,” according to an order of the the CPP central committee.
“A people’s court can be immediately convened to try and render judgement on General Palparan for war crimes and gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” the order added.
Palparan has not left the country but vowed not to surrender, according to a statement released by Palparan's lawyer, Jesus Santos.
“I am just around but I will try my best not to surrender,“ the statement said.
“I am not a fugitive,“ he said, insisting that the warrant issued for his arrest was illegal since it was a product of an “improper“ preliminary investigation.
“I will not allow myself to be a victim of this farce. My name is clean and I have served our (Armed Forces of the Philippines) with all my mind, soul and body,“ he said.
Santos told reporters that Palparan requested his statement be distributed “for it to reach the human rights watch and the government.“
Meanwhile, at least seven international lawyers’ associations, including a United Nations consultative lawyers’ group, have joined calls for the arrest of Palparan.
Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, said these lawyers’ groups are the London-based Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, US-based National Lawyers Guild, Netherlands-based International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers, Belgian Progress Lawyers Network, Japanese Lawyers for International Solidarity and Action, Lawyers Rights Watch of Canada and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).
Olalia said the IADL is a lawyers’ group with official consultative status with the United Nations, and has members in 90 countries.
He said the entry of the international lawyers’ association into the issue of impunity and extrajudicial killings in the country should hasten government action. - By Artemio Dumlao and Dino Balabo