MALOLOS CITY: A witness to the kidnapping of two students and a farmer nine years ago named a military official as one of the perpetrators of the crime.
Prosecution witness, Wilfredo Ramos, identified Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio as the one who tied him up and his father at 2 a.m. of June 26, 2006, which is the same date as the abduction of students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño along with a farmer, identified as Manuel Merino in Hagonoy, Bulacan.
Ramos, in his first affidavit, said he was sleeping with his parents in San Miguel, Hagonoy, Bulacan when armed men in “fatigue uniform and boots,” some of them wearing bonnets, went to their house.
They were told to get out of their house and were tied up by the armed men.
Ramos said they were brought in front of the house of a relative where he claimed he saw two women and a man, whom he later identified as Empeño, Cadapan, and Merino. The armed men and the three individuals boarded a jeepney then left the area.
Osorio, along with retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr., and Master Sgt. Rizal Hilario, were charged with two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of the two missing students. Osorio is currently detained at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City with Palparan and Anotado while Hilario is still at large.
Lawyer Julian F. Oliva Jr., one of the private lawyers of the prosecution from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), said Ramos’ testimony is consistent with the narration of their witnesses that identifies the accused soldiers.
He said Ramos’ narration is consistent with his first affidavit, which was done last June 27, 2006 or a day after the abduction.
Ramos, however, admitted that he did not mention Osorio in the first affidavit because he did not know the soldier at that time the document was executed.
He said that it was only during the preliminary hearing at the Department of Justice (DOJ) that he recognized Osorio, who served as one of Palparan’s security detail.
Osorio earlier denied the accusation taking part in the abduction, adding that he met Palparan only when he was assigned to him as a security aide. Despite his statement, the DOJ recommended the indictment of Osorio in December 2011.
Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn, said Ramos’ testimony is proof that her daughter was indeed kidnapped and that the military was involved in the incident.