Thursday, December 29, 2011

DOJ: Is Army lawyering for Palparan?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday criticized the transfer from a city jail to a military camp of Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan's two co-accused in the alleged kidnapping of two student activists in 2006.
Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera said he could not understand why Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt Edgardo Osorio had to be in the custody of the military at the Army headquarters in Taguig City.
The two were transferred from the city jail in Malolos, Bulacan after securing permission from the judge hearing their case. The two claimed that they did not feel safe inside the city jail.
"The accused have their own lawyers. The DOJ is hoping the Army is not lawyering for them," said Navera, who headed the investigating panel that recommended kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges against Palparan, Anotado, Osorio, and a fourth suspect - M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario.
GMA News Online tried to reach military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. for comment but he was not answering the phone as of posting time.

No copies of court order?
Navera claimed that the DOJ was not furnished copies of the court order allowing the transfer.
"We will inquire first why we have not received any notice and the order directing the transfer to the Army custody and why the Army itself did not inform the DOJ," he said.
While he acknowledged the two soldiers' security concerns, Navera said: "We have to strike a balance between the need to avoid any special treatment for the accused with the issue of their personal security while in detention."
According to Navera, the two soldiers' transfer did not sit well with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
"They should be detained in a civilian facility such as, for example, the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame or Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig," said De Lima.
The two earlier surrendered to the military Provost Marshall, before being turned over to the PNP, then to the National Bureau of Investigation, before being brought to the Bulacan jail.

Still at large
Palparan and Hilario remain at large even after the Department of Interior and Local Government has already placed a P500,000 bounty on the head of Palparan.
The four soldiers are charged for the disappearance of University of the Philippines student-activists Sherlyn Cadapan and karen Empeno in Bulacan in 2006.
Palparan - who earlier tried slipping out of the country for Singapore but was stopped at the airport - has already asked the Bulacan court to suspend the arrest warrant and the hold departure order, pending a reinvestigation of the case.
Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) criticized the military for taking custody of the two kidnapping suspects.
"The transfer of detention of Palparan's co-accused from a Malolos jail to Fort Bonifacio is a special treatment that [Palparan] can certainly avail of if he decides to surrender. Hhe'll be right at home in a military camp," said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes. - VVP, GMA News
 December 29, 2011 11:40am

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