Hero or heel, presumed innocent until…
Leftist militants, activists and Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan’s alleged victims are rejoicing over his capture. To many Filipinos, however, especially those who have been victims of the New People’s Army’s atrocities, General Palparan only did his duty to run after these rebels; indeed, when he was still in active military service, he was credited for the arrest of known NPA leaders who were charged with various crimes.
He has been accused of serious crimes like murder, kidnapping, enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrests and other supposed serious human rights violations, but these have yet to be proven in court. He is the prime suspect in all these charges. In all the crimes he is
accused of, the general has denied he had a hand. We know he will undergo trial, and if found responsible for any of those charges, I’m sure, as a courageous soldier he is ready to face the consequences.
He had his own reasons to run away, knowing he had made many enemies
particularly leftists and rebels, and his life is in danger. Still, he should have taken the risk by surrendering to the authorities, if only to clear his name.
Whichever, we still believe General Palparan did his duty as a soldier, as a commander. He earned medals and awards to his name and he is a hero of many battles against the enemies of our democracy. The current Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, said he was a good soldier.
The AFP recognizes his efforts for our country, but it will never condone any wrongdoing by any of its members found guilty of whatever crime. There is no turning back for General Palparan who has devoted his life to service; and to think about it, after all that he has done, nothing came of it.
Let’s not judge General Palparan just yet; he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.