THE Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) is ready to take into its custody and provide protection for retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan amid mounting calls by various groups for his transfer to the military.
ISAFP chief Maj. Eduardo Ano on Monday said threats against Palparan are for real and it would be best if he will be transferred to facilities of the AFP or the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“If we are given the task, ISAFP is very much willing to accommodate Gen. Palparan. The threats against his life are very real, but of course we have to ask permission from the courts,” Ano added.
He said it was Palparan who personally requested that he be detained either in a military or a PNP facility after he determined that there was an actual threat to his life.
The Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 14 entered a plea of “not guilty” for Palparan after he refused to enter any plea during his arraignment also on Monday.
Palparan, who was captured in Manila last week after three years in hiding, is facing charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the abduction of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.
Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales also junked Palparan’s motion that he be allowed to stay at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention center and ordered the court’s sheriff to commit Palparan to the nearby Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ).
A cell was reportedly prepared for the former Army general at the BPJ. Bulacan jail warden Pepito Plamenco said they have added security measures to ensure Palparan’s safety.
The judge said keeping Palparan in a Bulacan jail “is more prudent, expeditious and less expensive for his travel every time there is a hearing for his case.”
Meanwhile, the Hall of Justice at the Bulacan Regional Trial Court became a virtual “war zone” as militant groups and supporters of Palparan met during the arraignment of the former general.
Various militant groups led by the Families of the Disappeared for Justice took turns in lambasting Palparan while shouting, “It is not only the court, not only the government but the public will ask you to repay your sins.”
A pro-Palparan group also kept vigil at the rear entrance of the Bulacan court where the retired general was brought around 9:30 a.m. The group was composed of members of Guardians, Bantay party-list, Wildcat Association and the AFP retirees association who maintained that Palparan is a “patriot and a hero.”
At the Bulacan jail, Palparan will share a cell with 72-year-old inmate Edgardo Francisco who told reporters that the former Army general should not be scared there.
He said he is excited to share his cell with the retired general.
“The facility is orderly and comfortable. It is my honor to be with the general in one cell,” Francisco added.
He said he intends to read Palparan Bible stories once the controversial military officer is committed to the jail.