Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The butcher falls, yet where's justice?

The butcher falls, yet where's justice?

It was yesterday when militant groups shouted justice as former General Jovito Palparan has been captured by the authorities after three years hiding in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

Known as the "butcher" and "dead man walking", Jovito Palparan orchestrated a series of atrocities that includes summary executions and enforced disappearances against those criticizing the government. Activists, human rights groups, and even cultural personages were being threatened by anti-insurgency operations the former general had been enjoyed with, especially those of "Oplan Bantay Laya" in which former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave a citation during her state of the nation address.

The operations that Palparan initiated or participated had made him had been a personage of impunity. He was notorious for his alleged role in the abduction, torture, and enforced disappearance of University of the Philippines farmers’ rights activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in 2006. In spite of his denials linking him to the crime, there is an evidence linking his unit to the torture of Raymond Manalo, who later testified that he witnessed soldiers under Palparan’s command torture Cadapan and Empeno.

But Instead of accepting the ordeal of imprisonment and trial as a once defender of the still present order, he evaded arrest for the past 3 years, and thumbing his nose at the authorities with the alleged help of former military colleagues. The present administration, whom once recieved news he hiding at Zambales and Cagayan de Oro described it as a feat in his arrest at Sta. Mesa, Manila by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation and the naval intelligence unit of the Armed Forces, giving them a warning to other rights abusers who routinely elude justice for serious crimes.

However, despite the present system's appraisal in capturing and imprisoning the high ranking murder-general, Palparan's capture doesn't mean it would guarantee justice for the killed and the disappeared. Activists still clamored for swift justice with the evidences pointing directly at him and his men such as those connected to the torture and illegal detainment of Cadapan and Empeno, and the deaths of Marcellana and Gumanoy. The system may continue denying the still-brewing dirty war against those against their wishes, much more that the Philippines is not like Argentina or Chile in giving swift justice against officials implicated in atrocities "in the name of defending 'democracy'", but instead coddled them for they gained merits being on the side of the system if not sharing the same idea of disregarding the laws of war. Palparan shared the same reason as Argentina's Videla in justifying the dirty war as a process in order to end subversion as if "better to kill one in every ten" or "reduce the entire population" so as to "end the problem"; Personally, he would have suffered the same fate such as Argentina's Aramburu by being captured (or in the system's terms, kidnapped), trialed, and killed by the Montoneros, or former Congressman and Marcos-era torturer Rodolfo Aguinado being killed by the Partisans with the death warrant signed by the peoples court; and Palparan doesn't like to have that kind of fate be imposed on him. 
And since he thinks that he's been monitored closely especially that place is in Manila (on the site where activists converge), then he had no chance but to surrender to the lesser evil such as the rotten state he had once served to; he even paranoically stated that he doesn't want to have the same fate as those of his murderous colleagues killed by the avenging partisan "all in the name of justice" such as a revolutionary one. 

In spite of his imprisonment, victims of his so-called "victories" still cry for justice the way his die-hard fanatics wanted his release and continue his actions. The latter both deny and accept that he's the butcher for he did his job in curbing counter-insurgency, simply by just putting those who are unarmed with the armed together for they oppose the order in which being despised most; but the former will always be heard since these people, mostly families of victims felt how injustice had been set upon during his so-called exploits.

Anyways, there are more conscienceless ones just like the butcher himself. And its a duty for the people to be vigilant in pursuit of imposing justice against them. The butcher falls, yet where's justice? It's up to the people to be vigilant, in keeping justice against those whose intention is to keep the system satisfy in its repression.