Wanted: the man who made the 'disappeared' disappear
Philippine families demand a hunt for accused army general
The mothers of the missing students appeal for justice
- Joe Torres, Manila
- August 27, 2013
Families of "desaparecidos," or victims of enforced disappearances, have demanded the government stop dragging its feet and track down a fugitive army general accused of a string of human rights abuses.
"The government should give us updates on his whereabouts," said Concepcion Empeño, head of the group Desaparecidos which issued the demand at a press conference on Tuesday in Manila.
Empeño also questioned whether the government was actually looking for him.
Major General Jovito Palparan went into hiding after he, along with three other military officials, was charged in December 2011 with the kidnapping and illegal detention of Empeño’s daughter, Karen, and Sherlyn Cadapan.
The two university students were abducted and disappeared in Bulacan province in June 2006.
"The government is beating around the bush. While we tirelessly attend hearings and closely monitor the case in court, we hear no information whatsoever on where Palparan is, or who’s hiding him," Empeño said.
"[Authorities] bragged about posting bigger rewards for the fugitives. After that, they fell dead silent. Are they still looking for him?" she said.
According to Desaparecidos, there have been 16 victims of enforced disappearances in the past three years. Most of the victims are farmers and ordinary folk.
"What many people do not know is that enforced disappearances happen to this day," said Empeño.
"As long as this crime of enforced disappearance continues, we should be vigilant and hold the government accountable," she added.