Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 3, Number 13 May 4 - 10, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
Congress Opens Probe of Mindoro Killings
Jovito Palparan, alleged mastermind of the abduction and summary execution of
two prominent Southern Tagalog leaders, will take the hot seat as two committees
in the House and Senate begin their investigation into the case on May 5 and 6.
Militant groups, who earlier paid tribute to the two slain leaders before their
burial, deplored the transfer of Palparan from Oriental Mindoro to Tanay, Rizal.
April 21 abduction and summary execution of a human rights advocate and a
peasant leader in Oriental Mindoro will be the subject of a congressional
inquiry set for May 5 and 6. The House committee on justice and human rights
will hold a hearing on the case on May 5 with its counterpart in the Senate
headed by Sen. Francis Pangilinan conducting a similar investigation the
House probe came a week after Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Crispin Beltran
delivered separate privilege speeches denouncing the killing of Eden Marcellana,
secretary-general of the human rights alliance Karapatan in Southern Tagalog and
Eddie Gumanoy, chair of Kasama-TK, a peasant alliance. Both congressmen threw
the blame squarely on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who, reports said, had
recommended the promotion to brigadier general of Col. Jovito Palparan,
commander of the Army’s 204th Infantry Brigade in Oriental Mindoro.
Palparan has been suspected as the mastermind of the killings of Marcellana and
Gumanoy and of several others since April 2001.
and Gumanoy were abducted at gunpoint by 20 masked men in Naujan, Oriental
Mindoro and their bodies were found the following day. Post-mortem examination
by doctors from the government Commission on Human Rights revealed the two were
hogtied and probably tortured before they were killed. Their bodies bore stab
and gunshot wounds.
companions of the two leaders who were also abducted survived the ordeal.
newspaper cited a highly-placed source in the justice department as saying the
military was behind the abduction and brutal killing of Marcellana and Gumanoy.
Asked whether Palparan and his men killed the two Southern Tagalog leaders, the
source said: "It is possible."
Undersecretary Jose Calida, head of the five-man task force investigating the
Naujan incident, refused to blame the deaths on Palparan, even as he ruled out
the involvement of vigilante groups. Calida said vigilante groups don't usually
hide their identities.
meanwhile, has been relieved of his post and transferred to the headquarters of
2nd Infantry Division chief, Maj. Gen. Efren Abu, in Tanay, Rizal which is under
the Southern Luzon Command. Armed Forces chief Gen. Narciso Abaya said the
colonel’s pullout is a standard procedure for any military official under
Palparan’s transfer to Rizal has sparked fears among militant groups in the
province. Henry Borreo, secretary general of Bigkis Lakas ng mga Katutubo sa
Timog Katagalugan (Balatik) in Antipolo, Rizal, said, “Palparan is not welcome
here. We have had enough of his
also condemned Palparan’s deployment to Rizal. “Pinapangambahan naming
tataas pa ang bilang ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao kagaya ng nangyari sa
Mindoro sa ilalim ng pamumuno ng berdugong si Palparan”(We fear human
rights abuses will intensify as in Mindoro under Palparan) , said Rev. Armano
Perez, Karapatan provincial chairperson.
has documented 76 cases of military abuses in the province.
own son, 14-year-old Daniel, has only anger for Palparan’s transfer. "He
should be punished. They should jail him," he said at the funeral march for
is stupid and ludicrous if the Arroyo government thinks that the mere pull-out
of Palparan in Mindoro would compensate for his more than a decade-long campaign
against unarmed civilians. This merely shows the government’s condoning of
crimes perpetrated the military,” Lacandazo said.
said Palparan should have been relieved a long time ago since the abuses in the
Southern Tagalog region escalated after the colonel was assigned to Mindoro.
of Bayan have called on the task force to investigate all 29 killings in Mindoro
Oriental by suspected elements of the 204th IB under Palparan.
Nonoy Gobrin, coordinator of KAMP, the national federation of indigenous
people’s organizations in the Philippines said Palparan deserves to be
permanently-relieved of his duty. He noted
the still unresolved case of Budbud Usting, a 65-year-old Mangyan, who
according to witnesses was beheaded by Palparan’s men.
Gobrin also holds Palparan accountable for the displacement of more than 1,500 Mangyans and Mindoro residents at the height of the all-out-war operations waged by the military in 2001.
Roberto de Castro, Bayan Muna deputy secretary general, revealed that Palparan had also been relieved of his post in Pampanga in 1991 following complaints of human rights violations from militant groups and local officials. Bulatlat.com