MANILA, Philippines (Dec 20, 2011) - Within days after the Department of Justice filed a case against retired Major General Jovito Palparan for the abduction of student-activists Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006, the Malolos Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 14 has ordered his arrest.
The arrest warrant was signed by Judge Hector Gonzales .
The retired military official is being accused as mastermind in the disappearance of the two University of Philippines students in 2006. A farmer named Manuel Merino was abducted along with the two students.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said copies of the warrant of arrest have already been furnished to the National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies who are tasked to serve it.
The warrant of arrest was issued a day after the former military general, who has been tagged by activists as "The Butcher", attempted to leave the country via a SeaAir flight bound for Singapore.
The Bureau of Immigration said that Palparan was offloaded from the Singapore-bound flight at arond 7:30 a.m. yesterday at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark Freeport, Pampanga.
Palparan had protested that he should have been allowed to leave since the watchlist order issued against him by the Department of Justice has already expired.
De Lima, however, said that the watcthlist order remains effective since it has not been officially lifted.
Meanwhile, rights group Karapatan has called on the justice department to transfer Palparan's case to another court due to security reasons.
"We demand a change venue from Malolos Regiona Trial Court to a Metro Manila RTC because of real security risks to complainants, witnesses and attorneys," the group said. – (From Philstar.com)