MANILA - Retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. on Thursday said he is confident he would be acquitted of charges for his alleged role in the 2006 disappearance of 2 student activists.
This as trial on the case of kidnapping and serious illegal detention filed against him for the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006 nears closure.
Palparan on Thursday attended his last hearing on the case at the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15 and testified on his whereabouts when the disappearances occurred.
"The witness has allegedly seen me in May of 2006, but the alleged kidnapping happened June of 2006. How could he make use of that alleged meeting, which I deny, as part of kidnapping?" Palparan told reporters after the hearing.
The prosecution presented 2 key witnesses pointing to Palparan as the one responsible for the disappearance of Empeño and Cadapan.
Private prosecutor Edre Olalia of the National Union of People's Lawyers said the testimonies Palparan gave on his last hearing further pinned himself down on the accusation.
Olalia alleged that the former army official seems to view everyone as communists.
"He (Palparan) self-destructed, mayroon siyang perpetual sore eyes kasi lahat ng nakikita niya pula, so kino-connect niya ang mga dots na wala namang connection with each other just to make out very wild conclusions," Olalia said.
Although Palparan believes the evidence against him is not enough for a conviction, he is still preparing for a possible guilty verdict.
"Hindi ako natatakot na ma-convict, I'm not afraid. If I will be convicted by miracle, I really don't know," he said.
Militant groups meanwhile held a protest outside the court while Palparan's last hearing was ongoing.
Among the protesters was Orly Marcellana of the Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan, who alleged that the former military official killed his wife.
"Ang aking asawa ay pinatay din ni Palparan noong 2003 sa isla ng Mindoro. Kapag naparusahan itong si Palparan sa kasong ito, parang nakakuha na din kami ng katarungan para sa aming mga mahal sa buhay," he said.
The court gave Palparan 5 days for the formal offer of their evidence, after which a review by the court will be made.