Communities and progressive groups in the Samar and Leyte islands hardly-hit by the fascist attacks of what progressive groups called as “the butcher”, the former 8th Infantry Division commanding officer Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, were teary-eyed after receiving the news on the Malolos Regional Trial Court’s decision on his kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases of two University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.
In the Eastern Visayas region, “the butcher” is known as the mastermind on the death of leader-activists Atty. Felidito Dacut and Rev. Edison Lapuz of Bayan Muna and Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas respectively and other peasant leaders and human rights advocates. There were also 19 cases of extrajudicial killings, 12 enforced disappearances and 25 torture cases recorded within Palparan’s six months of stay in the region.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) – Eastern Visayas, in a Facebook post, also welcomes the GRP court’s guilty sentence on Jovito Palparan.
“Under the Arroyo regime, Palparan masterminded ex(tra)judicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations in Eastern Visayas and across the country,” the post reads.
Under the Arroyo administration, the Eastern Visayas region suffered from physical and mental harassment and tortures, killings, illegal arrests, forced evacuations and food blockades during the height of the implementation of GMA’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya. According to Karapatan, there have been 126 cases of extrajudicial killings and 27 enforced disappearances in Eastern Visayas alone. Human rights advocates Dr. Bartolome Resuello, Atty. Norman Bocar, Prof. Jose Ma. Cui and Fr. Cecilio Lucero are among those who were killed.
While human rights group Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas celebrates the Palparan’s life imprisonment sentence, the group also warned the public to be vigilant with the present regime.
“Let us also continue to be vigilant as we face another fascist dictator. Let us continue to call for the ending of impunity as the Duterte regime is threatening to add more names to the mountain-like pile of victims in his War on Drugs, de facto Martial Law nationwide, and Oplan Kapayapaan,” said Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas in a statement.
Under Duterte campaign against drugs, there have already been 26 Oplan Tokhang victims killed in Leyte, 1 in Western Samar, 6 in Southern Leyte and 1 in Norther Samar as reported by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
Meanwhile, NDF Eastern Visayas encourage the victims of Duterte’s anti-drugs, anti-Moro and anti-terror wars against the Filipino people to carry on the struggle to end impunity and attain justice and redress.
Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas also gave a warning to the main perpetrators of human rights violations in the country. “Lastly, let the fate of Palparan be a stern warning to all the human rights violators, especially the Duterte regime that the Filipino people are hungry for justice, and we always remember,” the group concluded.