Gerechtigheid voor Karen Empeño en Sherlyn Cadapan

Oproep aan Filippijnse President voor gerechtigheid voor Karen Empeño en Sherlyn Cadapan en alle andere slachtoffers van schendingen van de mensenrechten.

Na een lange periode van zoeken en campagne voeren hebben de moeders van de sinds 2006 vermiste studenten Karen Empeño en Sherlyn Cadapan in mei 2011 een rechtszaak aangespannen tegen de vermoedelijke daders uit het leger, waaronder legergeneraal Jovito Palparan. Sinds een rechter in december 2011 een aanhoudingsbevel voor hem uitgaf, werd hij gezocht en jl. 12 augustus is hij opgepakt.

Mevrouw Concepcion Empeño, de moeder van Karen, was in 2010 nog bij ons op bezoek in Nederland. De moeders zijn bemoedigd door de steun die zij ontvingen gedurende hun reis voor gerechtigheid voor hun dochters Karen Empeñoen Sherlyn Cadapan, alsmede voor alle andere slachtoffers van schendingen van de mensenrechten. De steun van de internationale gemeenschap, de begeleiding van de mensenrechtenorganisaties Karapatan en Desaparecidos, de bekwame hulp van de raadgevers in de National Union of People's Lawyers, de waakzaamheid van het Filippijnse volk – dit alles heeft bijgedragen aan de arrestatie van de gepensioneerde legergeneraal Jovito Palparan. Dit is de eerste keer dat een hooggeplaatste militaire officier is aangeklaagd, gearresteerd en hopelijk strafrechtelijk wordt veroordeeld wegens schending van de mensenrechten in de Filippijnen.

De moeders doen een oproep om hen te blijven steunen door ondermeer een brief te sturen aan de President en financieel de rechtsgang te ondersteunen.

Hieronder de brief van de NFS:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken. / Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.

Amsterdam, 2014-08-31

Open letter: Call for justice for Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, as well as for all other victims of human rights abuses

His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III,

As concerned Dutch citizens and members of the Filipino community in the Netherlands, we are relieved over the news that former Philippine Army General Jovito Palparan, has finally been arrested three years after he was indicted for kidnapping and serious illegal detention in connection with the 2006 abduction of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, two youth activists who remain missing to this day.

While Palparan's arrest show a glimmer of hope that the human rights situation in the Philippines will improve, we fervently pray that Palparan, and all those involved and responsible in the case of the two activists, will be prosecuted and punished accordingly.

Aside from the abduction of the two students, Palparan also left a trail of extrajudicial killings, torture and other human rights violations wherever he was assigned.

Palparan was commander of the 204th Brigade in Mindoro and Romblon from May 2001 to April 2003, Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division in Eastern Visayas from February to August 2005, and Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division in Central Luzon from September 2005 until his retirement in September 2006.

We are aware that these crimes were committed before you became president. But, as current Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and incumbent President of the Republic of the Philippines, you have the power and responsibility to ensure that genuine justice and rule of law will prevail.

We also want to call your attention to cases of human rights violations against the striking farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, which your family owns. These human right violations were committed, according to the independent human rights investigations, during the time Palparan was assigned as commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army assigned in Central Luzon.

  1. In October 2005, Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) President Ricardo Ramos, also barangay captain of Mapalacsiao in Luisita, was killed by army soldiers. The main suspect, Pfc. Roderick dela Cruz of the 7th ID under Palparan, was acquitted. Following the suspect's acquittal, there were news reports of that the farm workers' crops were destroyed and the workers evicted from their homes. These acts were committed armed goons and guards hired by the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), a firm owned by the Cojuanco and the Aquino families.
  2. Labor leader and supporter of the striking Hacienda Luisita farm workers Florante Collantes was murdered in his residence in Camiling, Tarlac, October 15, 2005.
  3. Palparan was also implicated in the abduction and disappearance of youth leader Ronaldo Intal in Hacienda Luisita. According to witnesses, Ronaldo was nabbed by Palparan’s soldiers while working in a farm in Barangay Balete. According to Ronaldo's parents, a Tarlac City official revealed that Ronaldo was under the custody of the Army's Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) but “Gen. Palparan will not release him yet because his appointment is not yet over.”

There are more human rights violations linked to Palparan. The victims include women, young children, indigenous peoples, religious leaders, lawyers, journalists, health workers, and even elected government officials. Many of them were vocal critics of government policies or programs or mere supporters of critics. For many of us, it is almost unthinkable that such crimes can remain unsolved and unpunished.

Mr. President, being the son of a victim of extrajudicial killing yourself, we know that you understand what the victims and their loved ones go through as they struggle for justice in a system where impunity prevails. We expect to see decisive actions and concrete steps from you to see to it that justice is served and the impunity ended. The victims of human rights violations and their loved ones are, after all, also among whom you refer to as your 'bosses'.

Respectfully Yours,

Netherlands Philippine Solidarity Association