Palparan’s acquittal is incongruous to the pursuit of just and lasting peace

Julie De Lima, Interim Chairperson of the NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) finds the recent acquittal of Jovito Palparan incongruous to creating the necessary conditions for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. The dismissal of kidnapping and illegal detention charges against him runs counter to every principle of human rights and international humanitarian law. Prospects to resume the peace talks become less clear as the GRP continues to demonstrate its flagrant disrespect for the basic principles of justice by allowing criminals like Palparan to run free with impunity.

Under Article 4 of the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the GRP commits to “remove the conditions for violations and abuses of human rights and to render justice to and indemnify the victims.” The GRP’s exoneration of Palparan therefore violates CARHIRHL and is a clear indication of the reactionary state’s utter disregard to uphold the rights of its own citizens, much more ensure that justice is served.

While disturbing, Palparan’s acquittal is not entirely shocking. The reactionary justice system has long coddled war criminals like Palparan and Rodrigo Duterte. Despite having been indicted for gross human rights abuses in Mindoro, Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon during his tenure as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s henchman and main implementor of the bloody Oplan Bantay Laya, Palparan has consistently received special treatment in prison.

Consistent with the principles enshrined in CARHRIHL, the NDFP through the People’s Democratic Government reserves the right to hold Palparan and other war criminals accountable and render justice for victims of all violations and abuses of human rights.