Saturday, February 11, 2012

NPA has no authority to conduct Palparan manhunt

CLARK, Pampanga, Philippines – Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa yesterday said communist rebels have no authority to conduct a manhunt against former general Jovito Palparan, who was tagged in the disappearance of two student activists in 2006.

Dellosa said law enforcement activities should be conducted by the police and not by the members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“That is a law enforcement activity and the NPA has no authority to do that. The Philippine National Police is supposed to be the lead agency. The NPA should not meddle with that,” Dellosa told The STAR.

Dellosa, who attended the Hot Air Balloon Festival here, said things would become more complicated if the rebels are allowed to conduct a manhunt.

“We in the military will support the Philippine National Police through the joint peace and security coordinating center,” he said.

“If we see him (Palparan), we will call the Philippine National Police to arrest him. The PNP has the authority,” he added.

Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said the NPA would usurp the authority of law enforcers if it issues a warrant against Palparan. He said the rebels usually kill those who they accuse of wrongdoing.

“The Army leadership has issued a lookout bulletin to all units directing soldiers to report the presence of Gen. Palparan in their areas,” Cabunoc said in a text message.

He said officials have publicly called on Palparan to surrender to authorities to face the charges against him.
Earlier, the NPA had urged the public to provide information on Palparan’s whereabouts.

In a statement, the NPA said it has authorized all its units to take Palparan into custody and surrender him to revolutionary authorities.

“The NPA, the people’s militias and revolutionary mass organizations should closely look into reports of Palparan’s presence in their areas of responsibility and take immediate action,” the NPA said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines said a people’s court can be immediately convened to try and render judgment on Palparan.

Militant groups, along with lawyers’ organizations, said they were readying more cases of human rights violations against Palparan.

Palparan has been accused of ordering the abduction of student activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen EmpeƱo in 2006.

The Malolos regional trial court issued a hold departure order against Palparan after he was indicted for the students’ disappearance.

Police have formed tracker teams to run after Palparan and his co-accused military personnel Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr., S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, and M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario.

Palparan reportedly disappeared after he had tried to board a flight to Singapore at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Pampanga last Dec. 19.

The government has offered P1 million for information that would lead to his arrest.
Alexis Romero, Dino Balabo
The Philippine Star 
February 10, 2012 12:00 AM

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