Lawyers for brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo are set to file a motion for reconsideration today, October 23, 2023, before the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch Branch 19, hoping that the court’s acquittal of former Maj. Gen. Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan and his five co-accused last October 6 will be overturned.
The Manalo brothers, especially Raymond, were the main witnesses in a previous trial that resulted in Palparan’s conviction for the kidnapping and illegal detention of UP activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño who were abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan in June 2006. Raymond and Reynaldo had been abducted by Palparan’s men in February 2006 but were able to escape more than a year later, to tell their story.
“It boggles the mind,” said Cristina Palabay, “why Raymond Manalo’s testimony, once hailed as ‘clear, consistent and convincing’ by the Supreme Court no less, and which was sufficient to convict Palparan for Sherlyn and Karen’s abduction, has now been trashed by this Malolos court, depriving the Manalo brothers of the chance to attain justice for themselves.”
“We are hoping for the best,” said Palabay. “But if the judge won’t grant the Manalo brothers’ motion for reconsideration, it will be a reaffirmation of the injustice that was inflicted on the Manalos and the other victims of Palparan’s bloody military career.”
Palabay recalled that during Palparan’s stint in Mindoro, Karapatan documented 71 victims of extrajudicial killings, including human rights activist Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy. There were also 14 victims of frustrated killing and five incidents of massacre.
“As 24th Infantry Battalion chief in Central Luzon,” added Palabay, “Palparan was implicated in the killing of Supreme Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in Tarlac. And as 8th ID chief in Eastern Visayas, he likewise orchestrated the extrajudicial killings weeks apart of human rights lawyer Atty. Felidito Dacut and Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas chair Rev. Edison Lapuz in Leyte.”
Karapatan called on various groups within and outside the country to denounce Palparan’s acquittal and demand justice for all victims of human rights violations during the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. “We should never forget these crimes and hold those who instigated, ordered and enabled such crimes accountable,” Palabay said.