MANILA - Retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan said “self-preservation” was what he had in mind when he decided to hide for around 3 years.
In a press conference hours after his arrest, Palparan, who was arrested early Tuesday, is urging for “the best security measure” while in detention.
He said he has no problem in case he is placed in the same detention area with alleged communists, as long as there is no personal interaction “because they are more harmful.”
He said the threat against his life is real, which was why he decided to escape. “The threat to my life is massive. I know they are determined to [kill me].”
He recalled a newspaper banner quoting the New People’s Army that he is a “dead man walking.”
“That was a real threat. I can’t even assure myself [of protection] even under the custody of the government,” he said.
The picture of a calm and composed military official, tagged as a “Berdugo” by the militants, during the press conference, was also his demeanor when the raiding team arrested him Tuesday morning.
He said he would not have gone the route of a fugitive if not for the threats, he said. He said he did not even think of hiding abroad.
This is also the reason why he did not retaliate when the raiding team finally caught up with him.
He said he knew the arrest was forthcoming. “I may have done some mistakes [during hiding], I’m only human.”
Seconds before his arrest, Palparan said he heard a loud thud and saw a flickering of the lights that he thought was a short-circuit problem from an “electrical” system he had fixed the night before.
“At the door, I already knew the raiding team was there. I told them, I am just here, I will not move,” he said.
He even congratulated the members of the National Bureau of Investigation - Anti-Organized Transnational Crimes Division (NBI-AOTCD) and Armed Forces of the Philippines Naval Intelligence and Security Force/Counter Intelligence Group for the clean operation.
“Nobody was nervous, nobody drew a gun that would have ended in an unnecessary way. I’m thankful for that,” he said.
While surrendering had always been an option, Palparan said he does not regret what he did.
Palparan, wanted for the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, said there was nothing ironic in the place where he was arrested.
He said the place was only convenient “but I knew it was near the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.”
He said he even saw rallies where activists furled “anti-Palparan” posters and banners.
Now that he is in detention, Palparan said he will allow the rule of law to run its course.
He denied the charges filed against him, saying they are “manufactured.”
“That is not true, I hope they are truthful. There are a lot of manufactured evidence. One soldier remains in detention until now just because one witness claimed he was there.”
He said the charges against him were meant to bring down his “successful [election] campaign.” Palparan was former party-list representative.
Asked if he would run again, he said: “It would be impossible in the next elections. Perhaps in the future.”