MANILA, August 15, 2014—Amid the partying of many over the capture of Retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan, a human rights group believes President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy) must redouble the government’s efforts at rooting out the “culture of impunity” prevailing in the country.
“We laud their efforts but we must say…We are worried very much in the field that the culture of impunity remains,” Teodoro “Max” de Mesa, who chairs the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, said.
According to him, as chief executive and commanding chief of the Armed Forces, president Aquino should be “serious” in hunting down human rights violators so that “impunity can really be deleted [from] our culture before he vacates Malacañang.”
While praising authorities involved in the nabbing of Palparan, he expressed reservation over ongoing military actions against left-wing rebels.
“I think it is a positive step, but at the same time [there is] an overall balance in relation to the human rights aspect…We are not moving or telling any shift at all in the so-called center of human rights in the military or the uniformed services,” de Mesa added.
He also invited relatives and friends of victims of torture and extrajudicial killings allegedly masterminded by Palparan to come out in the open and share what they know in order to strengthen the case against the man now known as “Berdugo” (“The Butcher”).
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates hopes there will be no room for “command conspiracy”, or an institutional cover-up, between high-ranking officers of the military, so that justice will take its course.
Palparan, who had gone into hiding in 2011, was captured Tuesday, August 12, by members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) inside a rented room in Santa Mesa, Manila. (Raymond A. Sebastián)