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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Palparan says De Lima ties with Joma cause him woes

By Joyce Pangco Panares, Francisco Tuyay | Aug. 21, 2014 at 12:01am

Retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan on Wednesday accused Justice Secretary Leila de Lima of making it her personal cause to have him pinned down for the disappearance of two students given her ties to exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison.
“That is the instruction of the Secretary of the Department of Justice. She is really mad at me that’s why she maneuvered to have this kidnapping case filed against me, and have me arrested without bail,” Palparan said in a television interview.
“It is natural for her to be mad at me because Juliet de Lima, the wife of the head of the Communist Party of Philippines Jose Ma. Sison, is her cousin,” Palparan added.
But in a separate interview, 
De Lima denied she was related to De Lima-Sison, who is in the Netherlands with her husband Joma Sison, one of founders of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“I am not related to the wife of Joma,” de Lima said, adding that Palparan’s supporters were spreading that information.
This was in contrast to the statement she made in 2009, when she told ABS-CBN News Channel in an interview that she was indeed related to Julieta.
“Well, if you’re asking about Juliet de Lima, the wife of Joma Sison, well I’ve never denied that. Many people know that the family of Juliet are our relatives,” said De Lima, who was the chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights at that time.
But De Lima also clarified that she was only related to Julieta in the ninth degree, or third cousins once removed, because her father, former election commissioner Vicente de Lima, is a third cousin of Julieta.
“You see in our place, in Iriga City, all the De Limas there are our relatives... [My father] is third cousins with Juliet and her siblings,” she said, explaining a common aspect of Philippine culture on kinship.
But Philippine jurisprudence on consanguinity only defines blood relations up to the fourth degree, so Leila is technically no longer related to Julieta.
Palparan, however, said de Lima “wants to impress the militants” in running after him.
The retired decorated military official earned the moniker “butcher” for his successful anti-insurgency campaigns.
He went into hiding in December 2011 after an arrest warrant was issued against him for his alleged involvement in the disappearance of students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in 2006.
Palparan said he has no intention of presenting any witness to defend himself since he claimed that the allegations against him were all lies.
“Their evidence against me - these are all fabricated,” he said.
The military official said the only persons who deserve his apologies are his children.
“I ask for their patience because they are being dragged into this issue. Hopefully, our lives will return to normal. They are proud of me even if the situation has come to this,” he said.
“Their only worry are the threats to my life. And that is what worries me - that my children worry for me. I did not do anything wrong. There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Palparan added.
Malacañang earlier said Palparan enjoys the presumption of innocence until he is proven guilty in court.
“Even if he is a high-profile suspect, we need to respect his rights,” Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said.
The Association of General and Flag Officers (AGFO) has denounced the trial by publicity that Palparan is going through since he was arrested last week.
Retired Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan, president of AGFO, said branding Palparan a “butcher” allows the “real enemies” to evade justice.
“We sympathize with the families of the victims of this long running insurgency whether they are civilians or soldiers. But branding Maj. Gen. Palparan as a berdugo and playing it up in the media does not help the quest for justice,” Adan said.
“We should not forget that the real enemies are those who resort to violence and intimidation to achieve their selfish political ends. In many societies, such actions are considered acts of terrorism, and those who commit them, terrorists,” he added.
Adan described the 64-year-old Palparan as a “professional soldier” who had put his life on the line since he started as a junior officer in the 1970s.
“His courage and leadership had saved lives and protected communities. His sacrifices should be taken into account,” the AGFO head said.
“If he had abused his power and authority or committed any crime against anyone as the militants claim, then allow him to face his accusers, and they should present evidence for evaluation by competent authorities so that justice maybe served. Lest we forget, this is how it works in a democracy,” Adan added.
Meanwhile, retired former Army General Raul Urgello, an AGFO member, said Palparan’s incarceration in a jail facility in Bulacan could spark massive demoralization among the ranks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Urgello said Palparan’s detention at the Malolos jail may create demoralization among “brother” officers and soldiers fighting the communist insurgency.
‘It’s very disappointing. It’s not right for Palparan who is a decorated officer to be put in an area where his safety is at risk,” Urgello said.
He added that it was an insult to Palparan and a violation of the former Army general’s constitutional rights to be detained in a facility vulnerable to attacks by the communists.
Earlier, a group of unidentified junior military officers had reportedly expressed their moral support to Palparan.

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