August 13, 2014

Justice for Victims of Palparan’s Terrorism!

 The Cordillera Peoples Alliance joins defenders and advocates of people’s rights in the country in welcoming the arrest of the Butcher Jovito Palparan. We warn however that there should be no special treatment at all for Palparan, and that his arrest should not be a cover-up to the continuing human rights violations under the US-Benigno Aquino regime.

 Palparan led the US-backed Oplan Bantay Laya I and II during the US-Arroyo regime, where at least 1,206 extrajudicial killings were documented by KARAPATAN including 206 victims of enforced disappearance that remain missing up to present.   The most prominent cases directly involving Palparan are those of UP Students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, abducted in 2006, and Jonas Burgos, abducted in 2007, an alumnus of the Benguet State University.

 Palparan is accountable for the extrajudicial killing of at least 151 indigenous persons from 2001 to 2010, including the forced evacuation of at least 800 Mangyan families when the Butcher virtually turned Mindoro into a laboratory for Oplan Bantay Laya. We have not forgotten Palparan’s crimes in the Cordillera either, under the US-Cory Aquino regime that unleashed Oplan Lambat Bitag, and the countless cases of human rights violations such as torture and killings in the region.

 Palparan’s arrest is but the start of the quest for justice for the thousands summarily executed, tortured, raped, abducted and the many communities bombed and hamletted. Palparan’s arrest does not end impunity, as the current US-Benigno Aquino regime also has blood on its hands, with Oplan Bantay Laya renamed into the deceptive Oplan Bayanihan. With the present Oplan of the Aquino regime, same human rights violations committed by Palparan are directed against the people.

Even the life of Palparan is not enough to pay for the victims and crime he committed with Arroyo. With Palparan, Arroyo should be held accountable as the commander in chief of Palparan, which she promoted after committing all those human rights violations . Ang hindi pagpapanagot kay Arroyo at Palparan ay dagdag na kasalanan at accountability ng gobyernong ito ni Aquino. While we welcome his arrest, this is long overdue as the government has all the resources and everything to arrest him and punish him if he was not being protected. Why his arrest only now when Aquino’s popularity rating plunged?

  CPA will continue to monitor the development of the case and until he is brought behind bars. We also call on all the victims, survivors and witnesses to find courage and file charges against Palparan. CPA will also continue to support the families and survivors of Palparan’s terror in their quest for justice. ***