Press Release
August 3, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today dared Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, chief of the Armys 7th Infantry Division, to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the courts to prove his assertion that he has nothing to do with the abduction of two female students of the University of the Philippines and their male companion.

Pimentel was dismayed by the failure of Palparan, and another high-ranking military officer, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, chief of the Philippine Army, to show up at Tuesdays hearing of the Court of Appeals on the habeas corpus petition filed by the parents of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno and farmer Manuel Merino who were abducted from a house in Hagonoy, Bulacan last June 26.

Reminding Palparan that he is not above the law, Pimentel said the general should not evade the judicial process but instead see this as an opportunity to defend himself from the abduction case especially in the wake of several complaints of human rights violations against him.

Gen. Palparan should clarify matters not by press statements but by submitting himself to the jurisdiction of the courts. If he puts himself above the law he becomes a law unto himself, the senator said.

And he is only an appointed officer of the Armed Forces, not even an elected official. With that mentality, the nation is really in great danger of losing its democratic moorings.

Instead of snubbing court hearings, Pimentel said Gen. Palparan and other military top brass should fully cooperate with judicial and justice authorities in resolving the abduction and disappearance of the Cadapan, Empeno and Merino.

He said Palparan should appear before the Court of Appeals and help in shedding light about the dreadful incident.

Pimentel also noted that while the Army general has denied any involvement in the abduction of the three victims, he had publicly stated that Cadapan and Empeno have been tagged by the military as members of the New Peoples Army.

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