Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. V, No. 35      October 9 - 15, 2005      Quezon City, Philippines

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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Central Luzon Before Palparan's New Command
Prominent officials, lawyers, union leaders were in 'hit list'

Before Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan drew controversy for his alleged campaign of terror in Mindoro Island and later Eastern Visayas, he was first stationed in Central Luzon where his counter-revolutionary philosophy apparently was sown.

BY FRED VILLAREAL
POKUS GITNANG LUSON
Posted by Bulatlat

Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr.

BULATLAT FILE PHOTO

Reports have been citing Maj. General Jovito Palparan vocal about his belief that it is the open mass movement, particularly its leaders, that is calling the shots in the underground national democratic movement. This belief is evident even during his earlier stint in Central Luzon, Manila's neighboring region in the north.

As far as civil libertarians in Central Luzon are concerned, the controversial general left a vivid scar particularly in Pampanga (around 56 kms north of Manila), as they, too, remember the alleged terror he unleashed during his deployment in the province in 1987 to 1993.

Persons interviewed by Pokus said Angeles City, its neighboring town Mabalacat and the capital city San Fernando were Palparan's favorite haunts and had served as his "laboratory."

Activists of that period believe it was during Palparan's stint in the region that the vigilante groups Angelo Simbulan Brigade in San Fernando City and the Faustino Sabile Brigade in Mabalacat were formed. The vigilante groups were named after two local leaders punished by the New People's Army (NPA) for alleged blood debts. Simbulan and Sabile were allegedly military agents under the direction of the 69th and 24th IB, which are under the 702nd Brigade.

At that time, several noted civil libertarians and human rights activists in Pampanga were abducted and summarily executed. The prominent ones include Atty. Ram Cura, Dr. Pat Santiago Jr., Archie Simbulan, a Doctor Dabu and trade unionists Raul Quiroz and Simplicio Aninon of Cosmos Bottling Co. Two youth activists, Badjo Conrado and Corazon Lintag who was pregnant, were also abducted and never heard of again.

Three cases that were widely projected by media were the arrest of "AMGL 18"; the abduction of former Angeles City Councilor Susan Pineda; and the torture and abduction of Edwin Herrera. The AMGL 18 case involved the illegal arrest of nine staff members of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL or alliance of Central Luzon farmers), three Workers Alliance of Region III members and six cultural activists.

The vigilante groups allegedly circulated a "death list" which read like the Who's Who in those days of Central Luzon civil libertarians. It contained 30 names, among whom were former Rep. and Constitutional Convention member Jose Suarez; the late Liberal Party stalwart Dr. Jose Pelayo; Virgilio Lim, scion of Pampanga's Henson-Nepomuceno clan; and banking executive Benedicto Tiotuico.

Listed too were former Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan (now presidential adviser on constituency affairs), former Rep. Oscar Rodriguez (now Pampanga governor), and the incumbent chairman of Barangay (villlage) Sto. Rosario, Angeles City, Carmelo Verry, as well as those of murder victims Cura, Santiago, Dabu and Simbulan.

Palparan was known to have set up headquarters at Marisol Manor, one of the major private housing conclaves in Angeles City.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has promoted Palparan twice in a row, from colonel when he was in Mindoro to major general after serving as commander of the Philippine contingent in Iraq. Despite strong resistance in Congress, his promotion was made possible owing to what top AFP officials say his successful recent anti-terror campaigns.

But legislators, rights watchdogs and civil libertarians say most of his victims were unarmed civilians accused of being "front leaders" of the left underground. PGL/Posted by Bulatlat

 

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