By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — A Malolos court acquitted retired Major General Jovito Palparan in relation to the abduction, torture, and illegal detention of two Bulacan farmers 17 years ago.
The Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 19 acquitted the retired general in its promulgation today over the kidnapping and illegal detention charges filed by the Manalo brothers, Raymond and Reynaldo.
The Manalo brothers were abducted from their home in San Ildefonso, Bulacan on Feb. 14, 2006. They were tortured and held incommunicado in several military camps in Central Luzon until they escaped in 2007.
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During their detention, the Manalo brothers met the still missing two university students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan and farmer Manuel Merino in a military camp where they were also detained and tortured. The Manalo brothers’ testimonies led to Palparan’s first conviction in 2018.
The acquittal was penned by Judge Francisco Felizmenio.
Palparan’s co-accused include members of the military auxiliary force such as the Dela Cruz brothers Michael, Marcelo, Jose, Maximo, and Roman.
Master sergeant Rizal Hilario and Dela Cruz brothers Jose and Roman remain at large. The Mendoza brothers Randy and Rudy, on the other hand, both died on Mar. 29, 2010, according to the death certificate submitted before the court.
Palparan led the brutal counterinsurgency program of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that left 1,118 activists killed while 204 were victims of enforced disappearance.