“They are using public funds to finance the phalanx of soldiers and police to provide security detail to Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan . That money should have been spent somewhere else.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MALOLOS, Bulacan – “Who are you trying to fool?”
This is the reaction of Concepcion Empeño, mother of disappeared University of the Philippines student Karen Empeño, as she stepped out of a Malolos court where the trial against retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. has been postponed anew today, July 14.
The postponement stemmed from the absence, yet again, of the lawyers of Palparan’s co-accused Col. Felipe Anotado and Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.
Anotado informed the court that his lawyer Abner Torres would not be able to attend today’s hearing before the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15 as his relative in Masbate passed away.
Osorio’s lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan was also absent. He sent through mail a motion for the cancellation of today’s hearing, saying that he underwent appendectomy last June 7 and is “still recuperating from surgery up to this day.”
Karen and another UP student, Sherlyn Cadapan, were abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan 10 years ago. Their relatives and friends are still searching for them.
Judge Alexander Tamayo told the accused to inform their respective lawyers to heed the criminal procedures as it could possibly result in a waiver of the evidence should they further fail to submit a formal offer.
He reminded lawyers to prioritize criminal cases and send their colleagues if they are unable to attend the hearing.
The Malolos court held the hearing even if July is exclusively scheduled for case inventory, in the interest of speedy trial.
Judge Tamayo today granted Anotado’s appeal to present two more witnesses. He said this will be the last time.
“I will no longer condone any further postponement,” he said.
Erlinda Cadapan, Sherlyn’s mother, said lawyers of the accused should make time for the hearing. She said that apart from the apparent attempt to delay the hearing and fool the mothers of the disappeared, the postponement is also a waste of public funds.
“They are using public funds to finance the phalanx of soldiers and police to provide security detail to Palparan. That money should have been spent somewhere else,” Cadapan said.
“It is appalling,” she added.