Palparan case judge asked to reconsider

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MALOLOS CITY: The private prosecutors in the kidnapping and illegal detention case against retired Army general Jovito Palparan Jr. and other military officials asked Malolos Regional Trial Court Judge Teodora Gonzales to reconsider her decision to inhibit herself from the case.

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The legal team from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), representing the families of missing UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, filed their motion for reconsideration on Friday.

NUPL urged Gonzales to continue hearing the cases, noting that the allegations of partiality against her are “baseless and hollow.”

“The Presiding Judge has already conducted the proceedings in these cases for four years… [Gonzales] has heard the testimonies of all the witnesses, observed their demeanor when they testified and has seen and examined all the evidence presented. Hence, the current Presiding Judge is in the best position to rule and issue fair and just orders or decision,” the lawyers said in their five-page appeal.

The lawyers also said they were denied the opportunity to comment on the motion for inhibition filed by Palparan’s co-accused Staff Sgt. Edgardo L. Osorio since they received the motion only after the period to file their comment already lapsed.

On June 10, Bonifacio Alentajan, Osorio’s legal counsel, filed the motion for inhibition, accusing Gonzales of partiality. He said Gonzales “has lost the ‘cold neutrality’ of an impartial judge.”

The cases against Palparan, Osorio, and Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado was re-raffled to RTC Branch 15 under the sala of Judge Alexander Tamayo, along with the cases against retired Master Sergeant Rizal Hilario, who is still at large.

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