TACLOBAN CITY- The arrest of former Army Major General Jovito Palparan was both welcome by leaders of progressive groups and Army officials in Eastern Visayas where the controversial former official was once assigned.
Dean Lacandazo, former convenor of End Impunity Alliance for Eastern Visayas, said that the arrest of Palparan had long been their desire to see and is just the first step for his alleged victims to get justice.
“The people of Eastern Visayas have experienced state terrorism at its finest during the reign of Palparan, with hundreds of killings,” Lacandazo said.
Paul Escalon, spokesperson of Bayan, said that they hope that the former Army general, whom human rights and progressive groups labeled as “the butcher,” would be found guilty on the allegations imputed against him.
“We hope there will be no hocus pocus on his arrest,” he said.
For Captain Amado Gutierrez, spokesperson of the 8th Infantry Division of which Palparan was once the commanding general, his arrest would serve him better to address the allegations against him.
“It is, in a way, good for everybody. He can now answer the allegations against him, air his side of the story in court and not in the court of public opinion,” Gutierrez said.
Palparan served as the commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City from February to September, 2015.
During his brief but controversial stint as Eastern Visayas top Army official, he was accused by several human rights and progressive groups of human rights abuses and even extrajudicial killings.
Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas, a human rights group, claimed that under Palparan’s watch, military in the region committed 36 extra-judicial killings and 712 human rights abuses like torture.
Palparan had denied any of these accusations against him.
The former Army general was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation last August 13 inside his hideout in Manila.
Palparan was accused to be behind the kidnapping of two students from the University of the Philippines and went into hiding on 2011. He had a P2 million bounty.