MANILA, Philippines - A few days before the "International Day of the Disappeared," rights group Desaparecidos has demanded an update on the Aquino government's efforts to arrest fugitive retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, who was charged for kidnapping with serious illegal detention.
“Where is Jovito Palparan? We won’t accept ‘we don’t know’ as an answer,” said Concepcion Empeño, chairperson of Desaparecidos.
“The government should give us updates on his whereabouts, or have they laid their backs on even trying to look for him?” he added.
Palparan went into hiding after he and three military officials were charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention in December 2011 for the disappearance of Empeño’s daughter Karen and Sherlyn Cadapan in June 2006.
Farmer Manuel Merino was also abducted in the same incident as accounted by witnesses.
Desaparecidos said there are 16 victims of enforced disappearances under the Aquino government, most of them farmers and ordinary folk.
“The Aquino government is beating around the bush. While we are tirelessly attending hearings and closely monitoring the case in court, we have not heard of any information whatsoever on where is Palparan now, or who’s coddling him. They bragged about posting bigger rewards for the fugitives. After that, they fell dead silent,” Empeño lamented.
On Aug. 30, families and friends of victims of enforced disappearance will gather at the University of the Philippines Diliman to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared. At Palma Hall, families of victims will share testimonies while groups and individuals will perform songs and poetry about desaparecidos.
“We are glad that the public are at least knowledgeable about the cases of our missing daughters. What many people do not know is that enforced disappearances happen to this day,” Empeño said.