Monday, August 18, 2014

Jovito Palparan

Today, August 18, 2014, Jovito Palparan faces a judge in Bulacan.  The charges against him will be read to him in a process called arraignment.  Strictly speaking, this is the day the person charged of a criminal offense actually faces the music.  This is the day that the charges named for the People of the Philippines is formally leveled against the person and he is asked how does he plead.

This is the day the Jovito Palparan must have felt all so alone—deserted by the very organization, if not the nation—that he spent his whole life for.

I have no personal interaction with Jovito Palparan and all that I know about him is just from the media.  But reading between the lines and comparing it to my life experiences as a policeman, I cannot help but feel disgust and anger at his situation.  The first disgusting thing is the statement of Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, AFP Public Affairs Office Chief, who was quoted in the news saying that the military would not extend any legal assistance to Palparan once he fights his cases in court.  According to Zagala, “Maj. Gen. Palparan is already retired and we have no jurisdiction over him.  Whatever legal remedy he needs, he must get it in civilian capacity.”  This statement is stupid in so many ways.  Zagala is lying through his teeth.  The saying “pag ayaw may dahilan, pag gusto may paraan” automatically comes to mind.  The foremost evidence that they AFP does not automatically lose its jurisdiction over its retired personnel is the case of Retired Major General Carlos Garcia.  Here is the After Trial Report prepared by the Judge Advocate General’s Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  The document clearly shows that Garcia had already retired when sentenced by the Military Court Martial.

The other evidence that Zagala lied can be gleaned from the subsequent statements of the AFP top brasses.  Realizing the possible repercussions of their actions to the morale of their men, the AFP Chief of Staff himself attempted to temper its effects just five days later.  Though expectedly slanted to prevent an obvious turnaround from their stupidity, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang stated, “The AFP is not abandoning retired General Palparan.  Without violating regulations, we are willing to provide all the help he needs in terms of security.”  When asked why the military should help in securing the retired officer, Catapang said: “The alleged crime happened when he was in active service and he’s innocent until proven otherwise.”  In the same interview, Catapang said that Palparan has not received his retirement and pension benefits pending the resolution of the cases against him.

At this point, if news reports are to be believed, Palparan cannot afford top caliber lawyers, unlike Conrado Garcia and Jacinto Ligot, et al, who has the means to pay lawyers as corrupt and as principle-less as them.  He is accused not of stealing millions from the government coffers but of allegedly stealing the lives of two people, an act that may have been driven by overzealousness in doing his job.  This overzealousness though is not limited to him.  This is also seen at the other side of the fence when NPAs sneak on unsuspecting soldiers and policemen and shoot them point-blank in the back of their heads.  This zealousness does not pay monetary dividends, as Palparan showed when he was arrested in a safehouse that cannot be really called safe by any terms of reference.  This is also the same at the other side of the fence as can be seen when SPARROW units are arrested or killed mostly in slums.

Adding insult to injury, he was even advised by Zagala to seek help from the Public Attorney’s Office.  Did Zagala realize that the PAO, the CHR, and the leftist human rights lawyers are almost on the same footing as far as this case is concerned?  Did he forget that the PAO is under the DOJ and run by Leila de Lima who is the apologist-for-life of the CHR?  So what is the option left for Palparan if the JAGO does not provide him with legal assistance in a case that is very clear to be service related?

And lastly, why is the AFP treating Palparan like this?  Because he was lauded by the much despised GMA?  Because he is not a PMAyer?  Because he is poor unlike many of his persecutors now?  I have no love lost for Palparan and I do not condone his acts.  In fact, I do not know him from Adam.  If he is really guilty of the charges against him, then let him suffer the consequences.  But to be prejudged guilty and abandoned by the very organization that he dedicated his entire life for—and without robbing it blind like many of his persecutors had done and are now doing—and being called "Berdugo" by no less than the current Commander in Chief, echoing the line of the ENEMIES OF THE STATE, that is the height of criminality and violation of human rights.

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