MALOLOS CITY ,Philippines – Retired Army general Jovito Palparan yesterday denied that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is coddling him, saying that even if retired generals would offer him help, he would turn it down.
“This is my own fight, do not blame the AFP and the retired generals for the continued failure of the government to have me arrested,” said Palparan in a one-page statement given to reporters by one of his legal counsels, lawyer Jesus Santos.
He said he has deep respect for the AFP and the retired generals and he would not put their reputation at stake. “I don’t want them to be involved,” he said.
“Once again, I call on the human rights groups to stop dragging the name of the AFP and the retired generals. Stop accusing them of coddling me,” Palparan said, reiterating his vow not to surrender.
Palparan is on the run after he was charged for the disappearance of two female student activists, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, in 2006.
Palparan said he has instructed his lawyers to file all pleadings allowed before the court and the Department of Justice to prove that the charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention filed against him are untrue.
Meanwhile, Santos appealed to the government to consider utilizing Palparan for his skills brought by his training and experience as a soldier.
“General Palparan has always expressed his love for our country. He was never tainted with charges of corruption,” Santos said.
He added that his client had even been sent by the government to head the Philippine contingent to East Timor and Iraq.
Santos said he has written a letter to the director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to help find Cadapan and Empeño, both students of the University of the Philippines, who were reportedly seized in Hagonoy, Bulacan on June 26, 2006.
Last week, Santos manifested in court that he had received information that the two students are supposedly still alive.
“I believe that they are still alive, and if found, there will be no case against General Palparan,” he said.
However, militant groups think otherwise, saying that the information manifested in court by Santos may lead to another wild goose chase, and may also be part of efforts to delay the case.
The Alyansa ng Mamamayan para sa Karapatang Pantao-Bulacan chapter said Palparan must be put behind bars, even challenging him to surrender and prove his innocence before the court of law. - By Dino Balabo