By Lilybeth G. Ison
Lawmakers on Monday condemned the alleged attempt of former Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan to leave the country aboard a SeaAir flight DG 7792 bound for Singapore.
Palparan was stopped by immigration officials Monday morning and told to disembark the plane.
He and three others — Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Master Sergeant Rizal Hilario and Staff Sergeant Edgardo Osorio — are facing two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the abduction of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno.
Charges of rape, serious physical injuries, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats, and grave coercion were also filed against the perpetrators by the victims’ mothers.
“Palparan was obviously lying through his teeth when he said that he was going to face the charges and now he tried to escape. The Malolos Regional Trial Court should immediately issue an arrest warrant against Palparan and throw him in jail right away,” said Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casino.
“Flight is a strong indication of guilt and he (Palparan) tried to do it on the day that his case is to be raffled,” said Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares.
For its part, Tanggol Bai, an association of women human rights defenders in the Philippines, said that Palparan’s alleged attempt to flee the country “clearly illustrates how he, like former president Gloria (Macapagal) Arroyo and other notorious human rights violators, have tried to evade justice and accountability, once again, for their crimes against the victims and the people for the longest time during their reign in office.”
Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Tanggol Bai, said the group also demand for the change of venue of court proceedings — from the Malolos, Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) to an RTC in Metro Manila — due to “security risks being faced by the complainants, witnesses and lawyers in an area where the military has active presence and where the abduction of the two women human rights defenders took place.”