Human rights group Karapatan welcomed the affirmation of retired Major General Jovito Palparan’s conviction for the kidnapping of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno by the Court of Appeals last Tuesday.
“This recent legal victory affirms the need to pursue justice and accountability through and through — despite threats, harassment, reprisals, and patronage by those in power of these human rights violators,” the group in a statement said.
In a decision promulgated last May 31 by Court of Appeals (CA) First Division, the appellate court said Palparan and cohorts Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio are sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility of parole.
The three were also ordered to pay the families of the victims P300,000 in civil indemnity and moral damages, subject to six percent interest per year from the date of finality of the decision until full payment.
The CA affirmed Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15’s decision of September 2018 saying Palparan, Anotado and Osorio were responsible for the disappearance and serious illegal detention of the victims.
Cadapan and Empeno remain missing to this day. Palparan meanwhile has started serving his 40-year imprisonment at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.
Karapatan said the affirmation of Palparan’s conviction could not have been possible without the strength and perseverance of the victim’s parents and the witnesses, as well as their lawyers and various local and international support groups.
“Sadly, Karen and She, along with many other desaparecidos remain missing, and Palparan should be made to divulge their whereabouts. This struggle for justice is for them and many other victims of State terrorism,” Karapatan said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)