“A travesty of justice,” mothers of disappeared University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan called yesterday’s interview by National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy of convicted kidnapper Jovito Palparan.
Reacting to an online interview last Wednesday of the retired general found guilty of kidnapping the students, the mothers said the caper was “a cheap, desperate attempt to vindicate criminals and rights violators.”
“It is nauseating, to say the least, to see Palparan and this Badoy trying so hard to salvage the face of the butcher for two hours, when Palparan is now a convicted criminal. The courts have convicted him, with overwhelming evidence and witness testimonies, for taking away our daughters. What a travesty of justice!” Concepcion Empeño, mother of Karen, said.
During the interview, aired over SMNI Network owned by controversial Rodrigo Duterte ally Apollo Quiboloy, himself charged in the United States of America for sex trafficking of minors and cash smuggling, Badoy said the show was done to “vindicate” Palparan.
Empeño also questioned why the interview was allowed in the first place by the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) authorities.
“They gave the convicted Palparan all the freedom to speak to the public. How about our daughters, did he give them a chance to speak and defend themselves? No! They remain missing to this day, for 15 years, while Palparan is alive and well,” Empeño exclaimed.
Erlinda Cadapan, Sherlyn’s mother, for her part said the interview is a cheap, desperate work of thieves such as Palparan and Badoy.
“They stole our daughters, and those who continue to employ abduction and enforced disappearances should be held accountable for the rest of their lives, like what they did to us, as we remain searching for our missing loved ones,” Cadapan said.
Cadapan said they are calling for NTF-ELCAC’s abolition as it perpetuates government’s systematic red-tagging of activists and persons resulting in real life harm on them.
“We call on whoever will be elected president to abolish the NTF-ELCAC, to help the victims of killings, enforced disappearances and other rights violations, and to see to it that the likes of Palparan, Badoy, red-taggers, human rights violators and ‘butchers’ will see their day in court,” Cadapan said.
Meanwhile, secretary Menardo Guevarra said the Department of Justice did not know of any request submitted by Badoy to be allowed to interview Palparan.
Guevarra added he is not aware of permission granted by the Malolos City Court for the interview either.
“Undersecretary Deo Marco will conduct an investigation tomorrow. Let’s wait,” Guevarra said on Thursday night.
Marco is the supervising undersecretary for the Bureau of Corrections that oversees the NBP. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)