Court decision vs. Palparan welcome respite amid impunity – De Lima

Published September 19, 2018, 3:23 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Hannah Torregoza

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday said the local court’s decision convicting retired army general Jovito Palparan for kidnapping and serious illegal detention of two students from the University of the Philippines (UP) in 2006 is a welcome respite in the midst of the country’s struggle against impunity.

Sen. Leila de Lima (PRIB Photo by Alex Nuevaespaña/2 August 2016/Manila Bulletin)
Sen. Leila de Lima (PRIB Photo by Alex Nuevaespaña/ /Manila Bulletin File Photo)

De Lima said the ruling is a timely reminder to the masterminds and perpetrators of abuses and crimes—“especially those of the heinous and most egregious kind—that the long arm of law and justice reaches everyone.”

The Malolos Regional Trial Court found Palparan, former Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and former Staff Sergeant Edgardo Osorio guilty of kidnapping and detaining UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in June 2006.

Palparan and his two co-accused were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or a prison term ranging from 20 to 40 years, according to the ruling handed down by Judge Alexander Tamayo of Malolos RTC Branch 15.

The case against Palparan was filed during de Lima’s term as Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary.

Palparan became a fugitive after a Bulacan regional trial court issued a warrant of arrest against him in 2011 and was only caught in 2014 at an apartment in Sta Mesa, Manila.

Even if his conviction did not result in the recovery of the two victims, De Lima said it has provided some relief to the families and supporters of the two missing activists while reviving the hope that truth and justice always prevail.

The detained senator also said Palparan’s conviction should serve as a warning to President Rodrigo Duterte and his minions that justice will catch up on them sooner or later.

“To those who are in power and their minions who think they are the law: remember you will be made to account for all your sins in time,” she said.