Palparan's continued military detention smacks of 'VIP treatment'

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition legislators on Tuesday, October 2, slammed the military for still keeping in its custody convicted kidnapper and retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan. 

Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman and Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin both want Palparan to be immediately transferred to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City. (READ: Why Palparan still sleeps at 'home' and not Bilibid

“It’s very seldom that human rights advocates score a victory… That the conviction of Palparan is a victory of the human rights cause, and it is being derogated by the failure of the military establishment to transfer Palparan to the Bilibid Prison, where he should belong pending his appeal,” said Lagman. 

Lagman said Palparan's continued stay at the army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio shows "he's enjoying some VIP treatment, which he will not get at the New Bilibid Prison."

According to Villarin, Palparan cannot invoke humanitarian reasons to prevent his transfer to the NBP.

“General Palparan cannot invoke humanitarian reasons on being fragile, senile at this moment because what he has done in the past really invokes contempt… What he did to the victims ay talagang karumaldumal (were heinous crimes),” said Villarin.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo has said that Palparan is still in their custody because the military is waiting for further court orders.

In a GMA News report, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque quoted armed forces chief of staff General Carlito Galvez Jr as saying that Palparan is set to be transferred to NBP on Wednesday, October 3. 

Palparan was declared guilty on September 17 of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the 2006 disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan

He was a decorated general for his implementation of then-president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s counter-insurgency campaign. Palparan gained notoriety from his assignments in Mindoro, Samar, and Central Luzon, and which earned him the monicker “Berdugo," or The Butcher, from human rights activists. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.