Remembering the ‘disappeared’

>> Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Mothers of disappeared University of the Philippines students remembered their 12th year of disappearance last week by calling for the conviction of retired Army general Jovito Palparan.
They said they hoped to commemorate the 12th year of the disappearance of their children in seeing Palparan behind bars. They urged the court to promulgate the case and convict “the butcher” soon.
Concepcion Empeno, mother of Karen Empeno and chairperson of Desaparecidos, aired the same sentiment on the 12th year since her daughter and Sherlyn Cadapan, students of the University of the Philippines, were abducted, along with farmer Manuel Merino, by state forces on June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan.
Cristina Guevarra, media liaison officer of KARAPATAN, Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights said in a statement the trial on the kidnapping with serious illegal detention case against Palparan at the Malolos Regional Trial Court has been concluded on Feb. 15 this year. Four months after, however, the courts have yet to announce its decision on the case.
“Our hopes remain high that Palparan will be convicted, yet with heightened vigilance. This is the reason why even a dozen years have passed, we never forget to remember Karen and Sherlyn today,” said Empeno.
              On June 26, the mothers of Karen and Sherlyn joined protests in calling for the release of a political prisoner, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), who should have joined the resumption of the peace talks but was recently halted again by Duterte.
Guevarra said NDFP peace consultant Rafael Baylosis remains in detention despite a court order granting him bail. An action was reportedly held at the Dept. of Interior and Local Government office Tuesday as lawyers filed contempt of court against the warden of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Special Intensive Care Area I (SICA-I) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig.
“Duterte is keeping critics, dissenters, small drug users and even bystanders in prison, but he has not punished a single human rights violator, drug lord or bystander corrupt officials in two years. He has displayed arrogance against women and critics. He dare not acquit Palparan for abducting and making our daughters disappear,” said Empeno.
Meanwhile, Linda Cadapan urged the public to remember the four other desaparecidos who were abducted on this same day 12 years ago.
Prudencio Calubid, NDFP consultant, wife Celina Palma, their niece Gloria Soco, and Ariel Beloy were on their way to Samar when they were abducted on the same day 12 years ago along Maharlika Highway in the boundary of Quezon and Camarines Norte.
Cadapan added, “How do we expect justice now for the disappeared many years back with a president who has not only perpetuated the same abuses, but have coddled martial law remnants and rights violators under his reign?”
Enforced disappearance is a known rights violation during martial law which was used to silence hundreds of activists and opponents of the Marcos dictatorship.
Cadapan said aside from not forgetting, not letting go of the plight for justice is a relevant response to the current situation.
             “This is for the grieving mothers of children killed in the war against drugs, for those killed in the Marawi and elsewhere in Mindanao that is still under martial law,” Cadapan said.  


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