Former Major General Jovito Palparan was found guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the disappearance of University of the Philippines (UP) students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006.
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan handed the guilty verdict on 17 September 2018 against Palparan, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr. and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio. Another accused, M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, remains at large.
Palparan, Anotado, and Osorio were each sentenced to reclusion perpetua (20 years and one day to 40 years imprisonment), and were ordered to pay P100,000 for civil indemnity and P200,000 for moral damages for each count.
The judgement was promulgated before Judge Alexander Tamayo, who also ordered their commitment to the New Bilibid Prison.
Several unidentified armed men seized Cadapan and Empeño in Hagonoy, Bulacan on 26 June 2006. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
Palparan, known as The Butcher among human rights activists, gained notoriety for leading the charge against known Leftist elements during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
One of the prosecution witnesses, Raymond Manalo, positively identified Palparan as the mastermind, being the then commander of the 7th Infantry Division. Manalo claimed that he saw Cadapan and Empeño at a military cell under Palparan’s custody.
Lawyers elated at the ruling
In a statement posted in Facebook, private prosecutors National Union of People’s Lawyers lauded the decision.
“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 statement read.
While Palparan, Anotado, and Osorio may appeal the RTC decision, their incarceration to the New Bilibid Prison should be immediately executory. ###