HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Central Luzon Before Palparan's New
Prominent officials, lawyers, union leaders were in
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
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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