Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Central Luzon Army Chief Calls on Palparan to Surrender

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, January 24, 2012-A top military official here in Central Luzon called its former commandant, retired Major General Jovito Palparan, to turn himself in and face charges in court.

“It would be better for fugitive Palparan to take the opportunity of proving that he is not guilty of the accusations against him,” MGen Jose Mabanta Jr. said in his statement as the chief of the 7th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The division likewise denied protecting the fugitive retired officer who served as its commandant from Sept. 1, 2005 to Sept. 11, 2006.

"The AFP is a professional organization composed of disciplined and law abiding soldiers. It is not the policy of the AFP to provide safe harbor but to surrender any person wanted by law particularly man in uniform," as per statement of Mabanta.

The division assured that its soldiers will inform authorities "if they spot General Palparan in their duty assignments."

General Palparan, along with three other officers, was allegedly involved in the disappearance of students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan of the University of the Philippines.

Also included in the case were Master Sergeant Rizal Hilario, Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio and Army Col. Felipe Anotado.

Osorio and Anotado are now under government custody which was facilitated by AFP while Hilario is still nowhere to be found like General Palparan.

The statement also stated that Palparan is already a retired military general. The AFP has no hold on him being a civilian.

It also furthered that the AFP has already facilitated the turnover of the two (2) active personnel identified as LTC Atonado and Ssg Osorio to the authorities for proper disposition.

“We fully trust the justice system and believe in the due process of law. The AFP believes that retired Mgen Palparan should turn himself in and answer all allegations hurdled against him to face the case and take the opportunity of providing that he is not guilty and that he is innocent,” the statement furthered.

“Our unit commanders have disseminated the lookout bulletin handed down by Army headquarters and our soldiers will inform proper authorities if they will spot Palparan in their duty assignment,” the statement ended.

Prior to this, the 7th ID quickly dispelled reports of Palparan’s presence here in a beach resort where the messages spread like wild fire.

702nd Brigade Commander Col Virgilio Trinidad said that it was a hoax and disinformation campaign intended to put the Army and police in bad light.

The police and the army troopers conducted surveillance and search operations in all beach resorts in the province of Aurora looking for Palparans’ possible presence which resulted that the information was erroneous report. (Jason de Asis)

Advocates mark environmentalist' 'martyrdom' anniversary

PUERTO PRINCESA City, January 24, 2012—Advocates for a cleaner environment and the preservation of pristine surroundings in Palawan gathered in Aborlan town to mark the first anniversary of Dr. Gerry Ortega’s “martyrdom.”

This was how Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo described the occasion that attended by closest relatives and associates of the late veterinarian-turned-broadcast journalist-crusader.
“We offered the Mass not for Gerry because he is apparently at peace with the Lord but for ourselves for us to continue the advocacy left by the late Doc Gerry fighting corruption and advocating for the protection of the environment, especially here in Palawan,” Arigo said.
He added Gerry would have died in vain if we will not continue his advocacies.
“The Mass was a celebration of Dr. Gerry’s life, having led a very meaningful, beautiful and fruitful life just like what Jesus did in service of the truth and in the service of others, fighting against corruption for people to have a better quality of life in Palawan,” he further said.
Arigo, however, expressed sadness that a year after the murder, investigators are still working on the case that shocked the country and the international environmental advocates.
“After one year the investigation is still in its preliminary stage with the first preliminary investigation was dismissed by a panel of prosecutors from the Department of Justice,” he said.
The Ortega family filed for a motion for reconsideration, which was once again dismissed.
Arigo acknowledged Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s timely intervention by ordering a reinvestigation of the case.
He underscored the need to protect the country’s “last frontier” which is being threatened as the “lost frontier” due to four mining operations in the province.
Mining operations by City Nickel have been reported in
Narra and Espanola. There is also another one in Rio Tuba by the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining and one more in Berong.
“What is more threatening is the application of Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia in Brooke’s point which is a very beautiful farming town,” Arigo said.
He said the “fight” is still going on between the people and the mining company.
A small gathering was held at the crime scene at 3 pm today where various sectors spoke of the need to solve the case.
A candle-lighting ceremony immediately followed at 6 pm at the exact site of the killing last year. (Melo M. Acuna)


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