De Lima to DND/AFP: Where are Palparan's co-accused?

January 24, 2012 11:13 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 24 — Where are the accused in the abduction of the missing students from the University of the Philippines, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima on Tuesday asked both the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In a two-page letter addressed to DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and AFP chief of staff Lt. Gen. Jesse Dellosa dated Jan. 9, 2012, De Lima said that they were not given a copy of an order from the Malolos City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 14 allowing the transfer of Lt. Col Felipe Anotado Jr. and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio to the Army Custodial Management Unit in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Anotado and Osorio are the co-accused of former Bantay party-list Representative and retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., who is now at-large.

De Lima said that they were not even given a copy of the motion filed by the Intelligence and Security Group (ISG).

The ISG filed a separate motion before the Malolos City RTC asking that they be granted custody for Anotado and Osorio.

"The attached motion was filed by one Atty. Alex Alberto M. Popanes in behalf of the unnamed ISG commanding officer. We would like to stress that the accused Anotado and Osorio are officially represented in the preliminary investigation and in court hearings by their counsels de party, Atty. Abner Torres and Atty. Narzal Mallares, respectively. We thus wonder why the Philippine Army or ISG even represented them in the court hearing," De Lima said in the letter.

De Lima said that since the transfer of the two, they were not informed about the details of their transfer.

"As the primary prosecuting arm of the Government, we are entitled to timely official information from the AFP or the Philippine Army as to where the accused are presently confined and if they were confined at all. The AFP and the Philippine Army likewise have not provided us official information as to the condition of the accused, their prison regimen, their visiting hours and whether they are confined together, separately or with the general population of military inmates," De Lima said.

"We will need these crucial facts as gathered by the Provost Marshal General for court pleadings that will be filed by the prosecution," she said.

Anotado and Osorio surrendered to authorities on Dec. 21, 2011 after a warrant of arrest against them was issued by the Malolos City RTC.

On Dec. 23, 2011, they were moved to the military custody on grounds of threat to their security.

Anotado, Osorio and Palparan are facing charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the abduction of still missing UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.

The two UP students were allegedly abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan on June 26, 2006. They have been missing since then. (PNA)

DCT/PTR

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