MANILA (UPDATE) – Retired Major General Jovito Palparan Jr. arrived in Malolos, Bulacan on Monday morning.
Palparan, who was arrested last August 12 after about three years in hiding, is set to be arraigned today before the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 14.
Palparan is facing two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the 2006 disappearance of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherly Cadapan.
Palparan was first brought to the Malolos office of the NBI. His convoy was heavily guarded and security is also tight at the Malolos RTC where some militants were holding a rally.
His co-accused, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr. and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, are also expected to face the court today for the last day of the presentation of their evidence.
Palparan, tagged as ''berdugo'' or butcher by militant groups, claimed that communist rebels are out to kill him, even as he denied allegations that he was behind the forced disappearances of several activists.
The court earlier ordered that Palparan be transferred to Bulacan Provincial Jail, but the retired general asked the court to allow him to remain in NBI custody.
The NBI has also cited the risks of immediately taking Palparan to the provincial jail without security arrangements in place.
But for Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon and members of the left-leaning political groups, no special treatment must be given to Palparan.
''There should be no special treatment for an ex-general who treated thousands of Filipinos with extreme merciless brutality. An ex-general who killed regularly should likewise be jailed in a regular facility,'' Ridon said in a statement.
Ridon also opposed Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's proposal that Palparan, due to the supposed threats to his life, be placed under the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
''Sen. Trillanes and his military friends are hyping the issue of security, where in fact the security provided by our provincial jails can actually suffice. Besides, Palparan cannot and should not be transferred to military custody as he is already retired and is no longer an active serviceman,'' Ridon said. – with reports from Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News; and Dexter Ganibe, dzMM