Retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan faces 20 to 40 years imprisonment after being found guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the 2006 disappearance of University of the Philippines UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.
In today’s long-awaited promulgation, Branch 15 of the Malolos Regional Trial Court found the notorious Philippine Army officer guilty of the crime, along with co-accused Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.
Judge Alexander Tamayo also ordered the three to each pay P100,000 in civil indemnity and P200,000 for moral damages to the families of the victims.
Called “The Butcher” by activists and human rights workers, Palparan is believed to responsible for numerous other human rights violations throughout the Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas and Southern Mindanao regions where he was assigned by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government.
Empeño and Cadapan, however, remain missing.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), private prosecutors to the case, immediately expressed elation over the verdict.
“We are extremely elated that justice has finally caught up with the coward Butcher. The law and evidence is not only on our side this time around but we are on the side of truth and justice,” the group said.
The lawyers added that despite tremendous odds and difficulties, the suffering mothers of Sherlyn and Karen as well as their supporters and lawyers have “overcome what seemed to be a wild shot at a rare chance to make Gen. Palparan and his likes accountable.”
“[May] his conviction be a signal to all other human rights violators especially of the worst kinds that rightful retribution will come in time,” the NUPL said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)