MANILA – The chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said military officers, both active and retired, did not give help to retired major general Jovito Palparan while he was in hiding.
Palparan was arrested on Tuesday after about three years in hiding. He is wanted for the 2006 disappearance of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.
Speaking to reporters, Major General Eduardo Año said Palparan ''has many friends in the military because he was a very good officer, but nobody from the AFP is coddling him."
Año added that it would be impossible for even retired military officials to offer help to Palparan, as the latter had cut the lines of communication between him and his colleagues.
Palparan went into hiding in 2011 after a Bulacan Regional Trial Court judge issued a warrant arrest for him, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr., S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio and M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario.
Prior to his arrest inside a house in Sta. Mesa, Manila, Palparan was seen using an ATM using a card which belongs to another person, Año said.
Año said government agents have been looking for Palparan for over a year. Intelligence tips had led them to various sites in the Philippines such as Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Cagayan de Oro.
However, Palparan eluded arrest because of his experience as a member of the military, Año said.
Año said upon his arrest, Palparan even joked to the operatives and said, ''Ang gagaling niyo, naisahan niyo ako kasi naging very lax ako."
''Kinausap ko siya. Chineck ko kung okay siya. He even congratulated me," Año said.
In a separate interview, Palparan admitted he had moved from place to place in order to avoid arrest, but he denied ever leaving the country or staying in Camp Aguinaldo while he was a fugitive.
He also denied employing a private army. He, however, admitted that many personalities offered him help but he said he turned these down.
''Hindi na ako gumamit ng maraming tao. Kasi unang-una 'yung maraming ma-involve, kawawa naman sila. But they are willing, marami,'' he said.
Palparan said he does not need to be given special treatment and that he will not ask for hospital arrest or house arrest.
He, however, has one concern: that he not be killed by communist rebels.
''Kahit saan ako makulong. Ang foremost concern ko lang is security. Ayaw ko lang naman na mapatay ako ng kalaban, malaking advantage sa movement iyon ng Communist Party. Kahit anong condition, I don’t need special treatment,'' he said.
Año said unlike some of his co-accused who are still active in the military, Palparan may not be taken into custody by the AFP since he is already a retired official.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the court will have the final say where Palparan will be detained. While waiting for a commitment order from the court, Palparan will have to be detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila.
De Lima said the DOJ and the NBI will work to ensure the safety of Palparan.
''In the meantime, habang wala pang commitment order, dito po muna siya. Bahala na siya at ang kanyang abugado na hilingin iyan sa korte kung dito siya,'' de Lima told reporters.
''Kung dito siya, NBI will make sure na maaalagaan siya ng maayos dito. No special treatment, just fair, just and humane treatment."