Palparan not a gift to NDF: Palace

By Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 13 2014 11:15 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2014 07:15 AM

MANILA - Malacanang on Wednesday denied allegations that the arrest of retired Major General Jovito Palparan was done by authorities to please the National Democratic Front (NDF).

"I think it's also inaccurate to say that the arrest [was] done to please the NDF. It was based on the intel provided by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)," said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda.

He urged the public not to put any political color to the arrest.

"I don't think you can relate the arrest of Mr. Palparan as confidence-building measure. It happened. And we're committed to arrest, apprehend anyone who evades the law," he said.

The spokesman also confirmed Palparan sent surrender feelers to President Benigno Aquino III last year but no action was taken.

"I think the President mentioned it before. Remember the reason why he decided to accept the surrender of Ms. Janet Napoles to him? Because there were feelers that were presented to him before to--not directly but through intermediaries--that General Palparan or Mr. Palparan would like to surrender to him. But no action was taken," said Lacierda.

The spokesman said he is not aware of the reason why the President did not act on the surrender feeler of Palparan, which was received through intermediaries long before the surrender of Napoles.

But when asked why the President accepted Napoles' surrender, Lacierda said in a text message: "The reason why he accepted Napoles' offer was because had he accepted the surrender of Palparan, Palparan would not have evaded the law."

"He wanted to avoid the similar situation of Palparan where Napoles might try to evade the law if he did not accept her surrender feelers."

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin earlier told reporters Palparan sent surrender feelers sometime last year.

"He wanted to surrender to the President. I told the President 'Why would he surrender to you?' He should surrender to us. When I said he should surrender to us, he went into hiding (again)," said Gazmin.

Authorities arrested Palparan early Tuesday, ending a three-year manhunt for a person leftist groups accuse of violations of human rights.

Palparan, 63, a two-star general and a one-term congressman, was found hiding in Santa (Sta.) Mesa district by government agents and soldiers.

Gazmin said Palparan's training as a former soldier helped him elude arrest.

"We were trained not to be caught. We know tactics, techniques on escape and evasion. He probably used that. Plus, he may have friends who helped him," he said.