MANILA, Philippines — The Malolos Regional Trial Court on Monday denied a motion of private prosecutors to transfer retired Major General Jovito Palparan from military custody to a regular cell due to the lack of a conforme from the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors.
Under the rules, public prosecutors must give consent to any private prosecutor’s plea before the court can act on it.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes said the DOJ is backing Palparan’s sustained detention at the Philippine Army Custodial Center in Fort Bonifacio, Makati City.
“DOJ prosecutor supports Palparan’s continuing special treatment at Army headquarters. They still refuse to conform to the motion of private prosecutors seeking transfer of detention to a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility,” Reyes said.
Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera who is handling the case said Palparan has credible threats to his life that is the reason for their disagreement to the motion filed by the private prosecutors.
But Bayan chairwoman Carol Araullo said the supposed ‘intelligence reports are only being used to justify special treatment for Palparan.’
“From the time Palparan was arrested, there have been talks of so-called threats to Palparan yet these have never been verified by authorities,” Araullo said.
She also said the DOJ has not given enough importance in going after human rights violators and appears to be more concerned in politically motivated cases.
“If only the Aquino administration has shown as much interest in prosecuting rights violators as it does political foes of the regime, then maybe there could be more ranking officials behind bars now,” Araullo said.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NULP) legal counsels want Palparan detained in a regular jail while his serious illegal detention and kidnapping case linked with missing University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan are being heard by the local court.
Lawyer Edre Olalia of the NULP said the slow progress prompts private prosecutors to consider elevating the motion to higher court.
“It is very unfortunate that the DOJ could not give its conforme to a reasonable request of detaining a former military officer to a regular jail,” Olalia said.
Defense lawyers also asked the judge to permit their client to post bail during the hearing at the Malolos court. The hearing for bail and trial proper of the case has been set on December 8.
With report from Cyra Moraleda