Retired officers defend Palparan, hit 'trial by publicity'

Posted at 08/15/14 3:23 PM

MANILA - The Association of General and Flag Officers (AGFO) on Friday denounced the trial by publicity being heaped by militant groups against retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan after his arrest last Tuesday.

In a statement, AGFO President, retired Lt.Gen. Edilberto P. Adan, said Palparan should be given the right to defend himself in court.

"Let him have his day in court and defend himself against his accusers. He is entitled to due process. Our justice system presumes that he is innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law," he said.

Adan added that the case of Palparan should not be linked to politics.

"Professional soldiers like Maj. Gen. Palparan faced hardships and risks, and had put his life on the line like countless Filipino soldiers in the service of the country, starting as a junior officer in the 1970s. His courage and leadership had saved lives and protected communities. His sacrifices should be taken into account," he said.

"If he had abused his power and authority or committed any crime against anyone as the militants claim, then allow him to face his accusers, and they should present evidence for evaluation by competent authorities so that justice maybe served. Lest we forget, this is how it works in a democracy," Adan added.

He explained that branding Palparan as a "berdugo" will not help the quest for justice, adding that the 'real enemies' are those who resort to violence and intimidation for personal gain.

"We sympathize with the families of the victims of this long running insurgency whether they are civilians or soldiers. But branding Maj. Gen. Palparan as a 'berdugo' and playing it up in the media does not help the quest for justice. We should not forget that the real enemies are those who resort to violence and intimidation to achieve their selfish political ends. In many societies, such actions are considered acts of terrorism, and those who commit them, terrorists", Adan said.