MANILA, Philippines - Former Army General Jovito Palparan Jr. wants the Court of Appeals (CA) to step in and block his indictment over the disappearance of 2 student activists from the University of the Philippines.
Palparan has filed a 14-page petition through his lawyers for the CA to issue a temporary restraining order on his trial at a Bulacan regional trial court.
Another accused, retired Master Sgt. Rizal Hilario, joined Palparan in asking the CA to stop their indictment.
Bulacan RTC Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales earlier upheld issuance of an arrest warrant against Palparan, as she found probable cause to indict him for kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.
Aside from asking the CA to stop their indictment, Palparan and Hilario said the court should order the Department of Justice (DOJ) to hold another preliminary investigation in their case.
They claimed that they were deprived of due process in the first preliminary investigation and their indictment violated the Constitution.
"Clearly the right of petitioners to due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them were violated. They were not given an opportunity to submit countervailing evidence to squarely refute the charge of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in violation of their right to due process," their petition said.
The government has offered a P2-million reward for the arrest of Palparan, who has gone into hiding after he was linked to the alleged kidnapping of Cadapan and Empeño.
A DOJ investigative panel led by Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera said it established through an eyewitness that "Palparan had a direct hand in the detention of Sherlyn and Karen and that through his men, he had knowledge and control of the places where the women were held."