MANILA, Philippines–As an “expression of support,” a group of military officers had planned a surprise birthday party for retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, who is celebrating his 64th birthday Thursday, at his detention cell at the Bulacan Provincial Jail in Malolos City.
But Bulacan jail authorities rejected “the birthday asalto idea,” according to Evangeline Palparan, wife of the detained former Armed Forces officer.
In a text message, she told the Inquirer on Wednesday, “They said it’s really not allowed… We’re told it might also compromise the case against him.”
Like her husband’s friends and supporters, she remained optimistic that jail authorities would reconsider their decision.
Asked about her birthday wishes for her husband, Evangeline said she was “hoping his health condition would improve, that he’ll be allowed to transfer to a much safer place like the Fort Bonifacio detention facility, and that he’d be able to hurdle his legal problems, God willing.”
Evangeline, a former government dentist, also urged human rights groups and sympathizers of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to “stop calling my husband a butcher because he isn’t one.”
The former Army officer is on trial on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in connection with the disappearance of two University of the Philippines students in June 2006.
In an earlier interview, Evangeline disputed the butcher tag on her husband.
“That’s totally unfair. Why? Because when government troops are ambushed and killed by the NPAs, it’s no big deal for them. The same when civilians are killed by the communists for not cooperating with them. But when rebels are killed in military operations, they make it appear it’s genocide,” she pointed out.