Photo by Mark Cristino/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila De Lima went to the military's general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on Tuesday afternoon, August 12, to meet with chief military spy Major General Eduardo Año and discuss the case and security arrangements of retired Major General Jovito Palparan.
Palparan, after hiding for almost 3 years, was arrested by military intelligence and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) early Tuesday.
"We discussed the way ahead. How will the case against General Palparan progress while he is in the custody of NBI? What are the requirements to ensure the safety of General Palparan," Año told reporters after the meeting.
De Lima was the chairman of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) during the Arroyo administration. Citing her supposed sympathies for leftist activists, an ally of Palparan had doubted De Lima would be fair to him. (READ: No fair trial for Palparan under De Lima, says ally)
Palparan is facing charges for allegedly ordering the abduction and torture of two UP student activists when he was assigned in central Luzon as commanding general of the military's 7th infantry division. He's also been accused by human rights groups of various human rights violations in other areas where he was assigned, such as in Samar and Mindoro.
The NBI admitted securing Palparan is going to be a challenge.
"He is a high value personality and kulang na kulang naman talaga ng tao ang NBI so I was informed na ang PNP tutulong sa pag-provide ng security," said lawyer Rommel Valiejo, chief of NBI's anti-organized crime division.
"The instruction is we should give round the clock security. We should not let anyone near him except his lawyers and his nearest kin," he added.
Año said there's no need to put Palparan under military custody inside Camp Aguinaldo. There is no plan so far to augment police troops with soldiers to secure the general.
This will all depend "on the level of the threat in the future," said Año. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com
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