Mothers of missing UP students hope new court will hasten proceedings

Judge Alexander Tamayo said he could go through the case files “all in a day’s work.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MALOLOS, Bulacan – Mothers of disappeared University of the Philippines (UP) students expressed high hopes that the case against retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. would be done expeditiously under the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15.

“He is direct to the point and offers practical solutions to expedite the court proceedings,” Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn Cadapan, told Bulatlat.com.

This is the first time that Judge Alexander Tamayo heard the case after the court next door — Branch 14 – inhibited from the case, upon the motion filed by Palparan’s co-accused Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio. The former court had been hearing the case against Palparan and his co-accused Col. Felipe Anotado and Sgt. Edgardo Osorio for nearly four years.

During the hearing today, Sept. 16, lawyer Jose Vener Ibarra of GMA 7 submitted before the court five compact discs that contained copies of reports and videos of previous interviews with Palparan from 2006 until 2014. In these reports, Palparan was quoted as saying that they have captured two women members of the New People’s Army (NPA) namely Tanya and Sierra back in 2006.

File
File

Mothers of the missing students and human rights activists have long said that Palparan was referring to Sherlyn and fellow UP student Karen Empeno.

Cause of delay?

Judge Tamayo clarified that he did not mean to delay the proceedings of the case against Palparan. He said that he filed his leave of absence back in July, which coincided with Judge Teodora Gonzales’s inhibition on the case, long before the case was raffled to him.

He belied reports that he needed time off to look into the case, which, he said, is a “high profile case.” He added that he could go through the case files “all in a day’s work.”

Edre Olalia, one of the lawyers of the mothers and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) secretary general, told the media after the hearing that they had merely stipulated the facts: the previous judge has inhibited and the new judge was on leave. He clarified that there was no imputation or suggestion against the court.

“Would the mothers want this case delayed?” Olalia said.

Meanwhile, Judge Tamayo rendered the pending motion for reconsideration on Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales’s inhibition as moot and academic. He said he has jurisdiction over the case unless he would voluntarily inhibit or that he would be directed by the Supreme Court’s Office of the Court Administrator to return the case files to Branch 14.

Olalia told the media that they would study the decision.

Before the hearing, Palparan held out a small cellular phone. He is still wearing his black long-sleeved bulletproof jacket despite the humidity inside the court sala.

UP students Sherlyn and Karen, and farmer Manuel Merino were disappeared back in 2006. The next hearing is set on Sept. 30. ()

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