‘Army official’s physical therapy not an alibi’ – lawyer of 2 disappeared UP studes

Kin of victims, human rights defenders slam transfer of Palparan to military jail (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva / Kodao Productions)
Kin of victims, human rights defenders slam transfer of Palparan to military jail (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva / Kodao Productions)

“Even during the time he claimed to have been going through physical therapies, he remained as the commanding officer of the 24th Infantry Battalion. The places where the two students were brought were under his jurisdiction. Anotado was in active military service and such testimony will bear no weight to the case compared to Raymond’s testimony.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – A lawyer of the family of the two University of the Philippines (UP) students said the latest witness presented by an accused Army official has no weight to the kidnapping and serious illegal detention case as its trial continued last April 28, at the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15.

“He just presented his testimony. There were no documentary evidence to support it,” said Julian Oliva Jr., president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers – National Capital Region, and one of the private prosecutors in case.

Oliva said the latest witness, physical therapist Galing Charnengco, said accused Col. Felipe Anotado was his patient at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center in Quezon City from Dec. 15, 2006 to Jan. 26, 2007. Anotado, he said, had difficulty walking.

The witness added that from Jan. 20 onwards, Anotado came to the hospital for treatment as an outpatient.

“Even during the time he claimed to have been going through physical therapies, he remained as the commanding officer of the 24th Infantry Battalion. The places where the two students were brought were under his jurisdiction. Anotado was in active military service and such testimony will bear no weight to the case compared to Raymond’s testimony,” Oliva told Bulatlat, referring to eyewitness Raymond Manalo.

UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan were abducted by suspected soldiers, along with farmer Manuel Merino, on June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan. The three have been missing for almost a decade.

Manalo, a farmer who was himself abducted and tortured by soldiers along with his brother Reynaldo, said Anotado visited the military camp in Limay, Bataan, where they were detained from November 2006 to May 2007.

During the first visit, Manalo said Anotado went straight to the stock room where Cadapan and Empeño were locked up and stayed there for one hour. Anotado also spoke to the Manalo brothers and Merino and told them to change their ways once freed.

Meanwhile, fellow accused retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan still appeared without a lawyer during the hearing. In the previous hearings, he said he could no longer pay for a lawyer and refused to accept Judge Alexander Tamayo’s offer to appoint a lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office.

Oliva said Judge Tamayo appointed lawyer Abner Torres as Palparan’s counsel for the day. The judge also barred Palparan from giving “side comments” during the trial.()

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