The arrest of retired general Jovito Palparan will not end impunity in the country and neither will it improve the human rights situation, as long as counterinsurgency programs are used to quell people’s dissent instead of addressing the root causes of the armed conflict. The machinery in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that perpetuates Palparan’s brand of human rights violations against the Filipino people is very much active in Oplan Bayanihan.
It’s a little-known fact, so the public may be surprised to know that every Aug. 11, the Armed Forces of the Philippines officially celebrates the passage of the International Humanitarian Law by having its soldiers renew their commitment to human rights and the rule of law at all times in the discharge of their duties. Or as Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin put it, “We should execute our duties and responsibilities to protect our citizens caught in the midst of armed conflicts in the country, and guarantee total respect for their human rights as prescribed by International Humanitarian Law.”
By Michael L. Tan
Last Friday I was on my way back to my office when I received a text from my secretary telling me that “the mothers of Empeño and Cadapan” had dropped in with the student regent, asking to meet me.
The Center for International Law (Centerlaw) congratulates the National Bureau of Investigation and the AFP Naval Intelligence Office for the capture of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan. This welcome news coincides with the international community’s celebration of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Month.
With the capture of retired military official Jovito Palparan, we remember the more than 1,000 students, youth leaders, peasant- and worker-leaders, journalists and activists who were killed, tortured and abducted during the Arroyo presidency and under Palparan’s Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2—among them, youth activists Karen Empeño, Sherlyn Cadapan, Cris Hugo, Ambo Guran and Farley Alcantara.