By JONAS ALPASAN
MANILA – A Bulacan court has denied over lack of merit the petition of convicted retired general Jovito Palparan to reopen the charges against him for plea bargaining, a court procedure where the accused would plead guilty to a lesser offense.
Palparan is currently facing two counts of kidnapping with serious illegal detention charges in relation to the abduction and illegal detention of brothers Reynaldo and Raymund Manalo. The cases against him have been submitted for decision by Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 19.
“In these cases, it is indubitable that the accused was not able to secure the consent of the prosecution and the private complainants. This is evident by the mere filing of the Comment/Opposition and the private complainants signatures appearing thereon” said Judge Francisco Felizmenio in a one-page decision.
Judge Felizmenio added that the motion was filed after both parties presented their evidence before the court.
Plea bargaining is usually done at the early stage of the trial.
“Needless to say, the Instant Motion was untimely filed and contrary to the aforesaid rule. Thus, the court is constrained to deny the instant Motion,” the decision added.
On April 11, Palparan filed a motion to reopen the case for plea bargaining. This was countered by the private complainants, the Manalo brothers, through their lawyers from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, saying that Palparan’s motion is “irregular at this stage of the case” and that it was “intended to further delay the resolution and termination of these cases.”
Palparan, known as the “Butcher,” led the implementation of then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s counterinsurgency program that resulted in widespread human rights violations in the regions of Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, and Central Luzon.
Raymond Manalo is one of the two witnesses in the kidnapping charges filed by the families of missing university students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño who was able to positively identify Palparan. His testimony was material to Palparan’s conviction back in 2018. (RTS)