- A court finds Palparan, others guilty over the disappearance of 2 UP students in 2006
- The reclusion perpetua verdict means imprisonment for 20-30 years with a chance of parole after 30 years
- A human rights group’s Secretary General: “Justice may come a bit late, but it does come. Let’s believe in that”
A Malolos, Bulacan court sentenced retired Army general Jovito Palparan Jr. to reclusion perpetua, Monday, after finding him guilty in the disappearance of two University of the Philippines (UP) students in 2006.
Judge Alexander Tamayo of Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15 sentenced Palparan, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, and Rizal Hilario with reclusion perpetua. The latter is still at large.
The verdict means imprisonment for 20 to 30 years with a chance for parole after 30 years.
The court ordered them, moreover, to pay a P100,000 civil indemnity and P200,000 in moral damages for each count.
As per a Philippine Star story, it said that Palparan, a former commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division in Central Luzon, had been tagged as being behind the abduction and disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.
To note, Empeno and Cadapan were activists who, while doing fieldwork in Hagonoy, Bulacan, suddenly disappeared.
The students’ relatives, on the other hand, turned emotional after the verdict which was attended by various members of human rights organizations who have been supporting the victims’ families for years.
GMA News quoted Secretary-General of Human Rights group Karapatan Roneo Clamor saying, “We welcome the court’s decision to convict Palparan for the charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of disappeared University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.
“This is a step forward for justice, though partial for so long as Karen and Sherlyn remain missing and numerous other violations remain unresolved.
“Justice may come a bit late, but it does come. Let’s believe in that.”