• ‘I don’t want to be killed by communists’

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    Retired general Jovito Palparan  (center), listens to one of his lawyers during a press conference shortly after his arrest, at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila. AFP PHOTO

    Retired general Jovito Palparan (center), listens to one of his lawyers during a press conference shortly after his arrest, at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila. AFP PHOTO

    The “butcher” whom leftist activists feared the most and suspect of being the military brass behind many human rights violations perpetrated by security forces, including extrajudicial killings and disappearances, seeks to be protected from communists.

    “I don’t want special treatment,” said captured fugitive Maj. Gen. (ret.) Jovito Palparan on Tuesday, “but the government must give me adequate security because I don’t want to be killed by ‘the enemy.’ “

    By “the enemy” he meant the communist New People’s Army operatives whom he hunted down as an AFP officer until he retired.

    He then entered politics, became a congressman, and fled when he was going to be arrested to face charges on two counts of kidnapping, serious illegal detention in connection with the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.

    Palparan became one of the most publicized wanted fugitives since he went into hiding in 2011.

    Shortly after his arrest early on Tuesday, Palparan repeatedly said — to print, radio-TV reporters and news anchors interviewing him — that he did not wish to die in the hands of “the enemy.”

    Palparan, gaunt, long haired and wearing a beard, did not resist arrest when agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and intelligence agents of the Philippine Navy swooped down on the house in Barangay 626, Old Sta. Mesa, Manila, where he had been hiding since May.

    The retired general turned lawmaker was taken to the NBI headquarters for temporary detention while authorities waited for his commitment order from the courts.

    Treated professionally
    He said the arresting team had treated him professionally and that he was grateful his arrest had no untoward incidents.

    “I feel secure here [at the NBI]. I don’t want special treatment. Or hospital arrest. I just don’t want to be killed by ‘the enemy’,” he said, explaining that he wanted to be kept secure because he did not want his family to be constantly worried about his safety.

    He had already been given a shave when the NBI allowed him to face the media.

    Although he had lost a lot of weight, Palparan, who spoke mostly in Tagalog to the reporters, claimed to be physically fit. He admitted “having a heart problem that’s really nothing that I can’t deal with.” He spoke in English when he said, “my weight loss should be addressed.”

    “He is just asking for security assurance,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said when asked if Palparan would be given special treatment.

    “I should have surrendered a long time ago. But my family relayed a message that they were against it. They were afraid for my security. I know that if only the court would be impartial, I could win this case,” the former general said.

    Palparan said he had tried and failed several times to reach former President, now Pampanga Rep., Gloria Arroyo.

    “I had no contact with the outside world,” he said.

    Palparan denied any involvement in the abduction of Cadapan and Empeño, saying the military was not in any way involved in their alleged kidnapping.

    “Wala namang na-involve o nag-move na military at that time (there were no military movements at that time),” he said. “Marami rin silang kalaban, nasagasaan . . . Basta, I’m sure walang na-involve na mga tao ko dun [they also had enemies, people they crossed.
    I’m sure my men were not involved],” he added.

    Palparan maintained that Cadapan and Empeño were not students but members of the NPA.

    The former general was also implicated in the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos, who was abducted on April 28, 2007 in an eatery in Quezon City.

    Unlikely hiding place
    Two other persons were arrested with Palparan yesterday— Reynaldo Ladao and Grace Roa. Ladao, believed to be a security guard of the Bantay Security Agency owned by the Palparan family, owns the house where the former general hid for months.

    Justice Secretary de Lima said the NBI is readying charges against Ladao and Roa for harboring a fugitive.

    Palparan said he never left Metro Manila since he went into hiding in 2011. He did not say where he stayed before moving to Ladao’s house, which is just two blocks away from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), a university known to be the home ground of militant youth groups.

    “I even saw [students]marching in front of the house where I was hiding,” he said.

    He said he did not really disguise himself while he was moving around, even after the government offered a P2 million bounty for his head. His hair and beard grew because he could not afford to go to a barbershop for a trim.

    Rommel Vallejo, head of the NBI’s Anti-Organized Crime Division, said his men scoured the provinces of Zambales, Pampanga and Bataan in their hunt for Palparan.

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    8 Comments

    1. Not entirely correct DOJ. flight and getting away is not always a sign of guilt but sometimes, the man who escapes no longer believe that he will get a fair chance when he’s trial comes. Imagine this comment by the DOJ. Department of Justice should be fair to everyone. Soldiers who knows and being under Gen Palparn during his term call him GOOD SOLDIER and he bleeds with them in battle not unlike other Generals. He is BERDUGO of the communist rebel but can you blame him if ever he is so tough with the communist? Look at him. He is a General but simply shows he is not corrupt. If he is tough with NPA its because Gen Palparan have a very good relationship with his soldiers and with the experience seeing them killed in the battlefield or ambush creates a monster out of him. We dont want judicial killings but this soldier is no EURO GENERAL! he can not even travel from provinces to provinces while hiding only in MEtro MAnila bacause he really dont have the money. I hope DOJ be fair to him. they should also consider the services in which he puts his life in danger to battle the enemy of the state! We salute you GEN. PALPARAN!

    2. Well may we all say the law is an ASS, in the Philippines it’s who you know and who you are connected with. Of course he had to go into hiding considering the vindictiveness of these administration. Pinky got off quick and smart after hiding for sometime, he was an enemy of the pass administration, but now finds himself in the pocket of the tenant in Malacanang. look where he stands now!!!

    3. Jovito Palparan has been a long embarrassment for the Philippine government – especially for the US-Aquino regime. During his heyday he was praised by Gloria Arroyo and also by his military peers during a Congressional session. That was before all the evidence against him and his criminal activities surfaced. Now he is a lowly criminal fugitive who is finally caught but still claiming innocence. He claims that his enemies (i.e., the communists) wants him dead. That may be true but his real enemy is the Filipino people – it is a true case of the People of the Philippines vs. Jovito Palparan. The US-Aquino regime has discarded him as an expandable asset and is now trying to wash its hands clean of him. But there are still a lot of Jovito Palparans in the AFP. It will remain so until we get rid of US imperialism.

    4. What a pity, here is a soldier fighting a clandestine enemy, now you say his head is on the chopping block. What about those soldiers and innocent people killed by the enemy, are their heads going on the chopping board too? Human rights! Phewww. Who maimed and killed the politicians at plaza Mranda? never caught and the leader is living it up in the Netherlands. Poor soldiers and policemen, they have to follow rules of engagement, does the enemy do the same??? it’s always human against the law enforcer. It’s war a tooth for a tooth. political righteousness deserves the wastebasket.

    5. Sorry Gen, you were not as clever and smart and as well connected as that other high profile fugitive Czar Sen Ping

    6. He said he did not really disguise himself while he was moving around, even after the government offered a P2 million bounty for his head…

      This show how this man really know his craft, to think that “HIS ENEMY” for sure has a lot of bullet reserve for him.

      But he is no doubt a lot better public servant than some corrupt government officials, both the elected ones and those in uniforms.

    7. & already he is claiming his innocence yet he ran from the law. Its so strange in this country how all of the top people who commit crimes are never guilty. None have the courage or integrity to admit their crimes. I hope there is enough evidence to get this guy to trial, & i would tell him tell us the whole truth & if we find you are lying in anyway at all we will just put you in open jail where the left will have access to you. I for one dont care if they torture him before they kill him. In my eyes he is just pure scum. The sympathy i have is for those 2 young women who went missing, what about their families who mourn them did he ever for one second think of them, no never. I would also look for ways of punnishing his family who have been hiding him.
      Now from what ive written i hope people dont think im a leftist as im not im a right winger. But i believe in treating people fairly. I believe in the right to free speech even if i dont like what they say. They still have the right to say it as long as it isnt harmful to others. Now palparan believes in free speech just so long as its what he wants to say.

    8. Nestor Baylan on

      You can run but you can’t hide. The long arm of the finally caught up with him. The butcher will now put his head in the chopping block.The families of his victims will now have a sigh of relief.Let us give closure to those who died mercilessly in his bloody hands.