Palparan said his sector includes “victims of communist rebels, Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs), former rebels, security guards and others of similar occupations.”
Asked about laws he would sponsor, the retired general said: “I would focus on the welfare and protection of those sectors, and improve their livelihood. The CAFGUs, for instance, live only on small allowance and they have no benefits but their work is risky.”
Palparan said he also planned to continue organizing a “counterinsurgency civilian force” throughout the country.
“There are such people. They are only working silently. If given the opportunities and capabilities this time, I would push for that. I have been organizing people to resist communist rebels,” he said.
On his human rights record, he said: “Nobody has proven I committed anything bad. Their apprehension is really within their minds. I can’t provide an answer to those apprehensions.”
“My entry in Congress will provide the answer [if their apprehensions have bases],” he added.
Security firm, dog
Asked if he would divest his interest in the company 24-Hour Security, which figured in two mining disputes in the provinces of Bulacan and Zambales last year, Palparan denied owning the firm.
Palparan expressed the hope that he can take along his dog Cloud, a Maltese, when reporting for office in the House.
“If it’s not prohibited, I would take her along. Cloud always tags along with me,” he said.
In Baguio City, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) said Palparan and his party-list group had no clear representation of marginalized sector.
Beverly Longid, CPA chair, said Palparan’s motive in forming Bantay was “not meant to represent the poor and marginalized sectors of society but to commit more human rights abuses against activists and left-leaning party-list groups.”
She said there should be a review of the antihuman rights programs of Bantay so Palparan’s representation could be opposed.
The Supreme Court disqualified in 2001 major political parties from participating in the party-list system because they did not represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
Man of power
“Palparan is not marginalized. He’s a man of power. He still exercises political influence,” Ocampo said.
Another reason Palparan should not be allowed to join Congress was the Supreme Court affirmation in 2008 of the Court of Appeals ruling that the retired general was “directly involved” in the abduction of farmer-brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo in Bulacan on suspicion of being communist rebels, according to Ocampo. Palparan also drew fire from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
“Palparan is gloating over the fact that he gets to sit in Congress and terrorize the public anew. He owes his latest position to the support given by Malacañang and the AFP (military) for his congressional bid in 2007. Can there be any question as to where his loyalties lie now?” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita expressed support for Palparan, saying he could help the House draft bills because of his long experience in counterinsurgency.
“He’ll be able to contribute a lot especially on possible laws on how to address our insurgency problem, including secessionist movement, and other activities that have something to do with breach of the law, security and peace and order,” Ermita said.
The human rights group Karapatan, however, said Palparan could use the House as a venue for his anti-insurgency campaign.
Palparan as a sectoral representative “sends a wrong signal to perpetrators that they can continue committing human rights violations with impunity,” said Karapatan secretary general Marie Hilao-Enriquez in the statement. With reports from TJ Burgonio and Nikko Dizon in Manila; Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon ©2009 www.inquirer.net all rights reserved
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Villagers want TRO on mining firm lifted
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
DOÑA REMEDIOS TRINIDAD, Bulacan: Residents of Barangay Camachin, Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan are calling on Environment Secretary Lito Atienza to lift the suspension order issued by the regional office preventing the legit operation of Ore Asia Mining and Development Corporation (OAMD) causing some 7,000 families jobless.
Barangay Chairman Roberto Sembrano said Judge Rodolfo de Guzman of the Municipal Trial Court-Doña Remedios Trinidad had already issued a mandatory injunction and temporary restraining order for OAMD to reassume the mining operations from the Oro Development Corporation II allegedly financed by a certain Go Kong Ket alias “Willy Keng” and being guarded by a security agency owned by Retired General Jovito Palparan.
Immediately after the said court order, Palparan directed his guards from the 24-hour Security Agency to withdraw from area.
Despite the court order favoring OAMD, its mining operations remain paralyzed as a result of the suspension order of Region 3-Mines Geoscience Bureau Director Anselmo Abungan.
“Kung patuloy pa nilang sususpendehin ang operasyon ng minahan ay para na nilang pinatay sa gutom ang mga residente, labag ito sa 10 point-agenda ni Pangulong Gloria Arroyo sa pamamagitan ng kanyang job creation program dahil marami ang maaring makinabang sa pamumulot ng bato”. Sembrano said.
Recently, the affected families held a peaceful rally in front of the DENR building asking Atienza to lift the suspension order so that they can return to work. But their pleas went to naught.
Palparan admitted that he ordered his men to withdraw from the premises because he could no longer bear with the way Keng treated the situation.
In a press conference, Palparan said that he turned down Keng’s orders to burn the mining equipments saying “hindi na ito makatao at labag sa aking konsensya,”
At the same time, Palparan warned mining financiers and DENR officials to be extra careful on Keng to avoid being used for his personal interest.