MANILA, August 28, 2009— An organization of Christian students chided a Manila court decision acquitting a government agent in the murder of an activist in Mindoro province in 2002.
The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) is dismayed that an alleged henchman of retired Army General Jovito Palparan was cleared in the killing of Edilberto “Choy” Napoles Jr.
Palparan himself had been excluded as one of the respondents after the Department of Justice found no probable cause to indict him in the criminal case in the death of Napoles.
The group said Napoles’ case is just one of the cases of extrajudicial execution and human rights violations in Mindoro during the “bloody stint” of Palparan as head of AFP’s 204th Infantry Division.
“Instead of prosecuting human rights violators, the DOJ cleared Palparan and Pres. Arroyo promoted Palparan to major general,” said SCMP chair Ma. Cristina Angela Guevarra.
In a landmark decision, Manila Judge Silvino Pampilo Jr acquitted Aniano “Silver” Flores for the murder of Napoles, a coordinator of militant group Bayan Muna.
The verdict was said to be the first court ruling involving extra-judicial killings allegedly perpetrated by government forces against political activists.
The judge said the prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence against Flores to warrant a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
“It is not anymore coincidental that Judge Pampilo of the first Special Court for extra-judicial executions would find failure of the prosecution to substantiate as main reason for dismissing the case, since the real culprits had been cleared early on and get backing from the DOJ and Malacañang,” Guevarra said. (CBCPNews.com)