Ex-Philippine general sentenced for kidnapping students

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A retired army general accused of being behind the killing of dozens of leftist activists in the Philippines has been sentenced to life for kidnapping two university students in 2006.

Jovito Palparan, nicknamed “The Butcher’’ was found guilty on Monday of the disappearance of two university students in 2006.

Palparan known for his deadly campaign against communist rebels, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnapping of the two students- Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Judge Alexander Tamayo also convicted two of Palparan’s co-accused, an army lieutenant and a sergeant, and ordered the three to pay 6,000 dollars each in damages to the family of the two students.

Palparan protested the conviction, shouting at the judge: “You’re a coward judge! You’re such a coward!”
Tamayo warned Palparan that he would be cited for contempt, but the former general shouted at the judge, “It doesn’t matter. We will be jailed anyway. You’re such a fool.”

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Palparan was accused of being behind the kidnapping of Empeno and Cadapan, who were seized from a rented house in the town of Hagonoy in Bulacan province, 36 kilometres north of Manila, on June 26, 2006, by people believed to be soldiers.

Empeno, who was then 22, was doing research on the plight of farmers in the province, while Cadapan, then 29, was a community organiser for a leftist farmers group in Bulacan.

The two were believed to have been raped, tortured and later killed by soldiers, but their bodies have not been found.

Local and international human rights groups welcomed Palparan’s conviction, which came seven years after the case was filed against him in 2011.