MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) is convinced of the strength of its evidence against retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, who faces two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the alleged abduction of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006.
Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, one of the prosecutors in charge of the case, said several eye witnesses have positively linked Palparan to the crime.
"Of course, of course, [the evidence against Palparan is strong], based on the testimonies of Raymond Manalo and the other eye witnesses," Navera said.
The DOJ prosecution team welcomed Palparan's arrest, saying he will finally be brought to justice, even as the prosecutors believe that Palparan's move to evade arrest for quite some time will affect his defense.
The cases against Palparan and his co-accused are pending before the Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 14.
"Flight is an indication of guilt -- that's well established. He appeared, initially, during the preliminary investigation of this case. He only went into hiding after we indicted him so the aggravating circumstance already applies to him," Navera said.
With Palparan in the custody of authorities, only one accused remains at large: M/Sgt Rizal Hilario.
"[Palparan's arrest is] a welcome development. We already rested our case against two other accused, [Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio], so with the arrest of Palparan, then we can proceed with the [trial of the] main accused," Navera said.
The DOJ has already rested its presentation of evidence against Anotado and Osorio.
"We will present the relevant witnesses [against Palparan], some of whom we have already presented against the other accused," Navera said.