Aug 132014
A priest who was allegedly included in the so-called hit list of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. is ready to testify on the former officer’s alleged human rights abuses, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said Wednesday.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive director of the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace, said he had to leave his diocese for a while for fear of his life.

“I documented the extrajudicial killings in Mindoro and submitted them to AFP. I can make the files available and I can testify if the documents can be found to support the crime of Palparan,” Gariguez said in an article posted on the CBCP news site.

“During his reign of terror, Palparan lumped together all those in progressive movements, even people from the church doing justice advocacy for the poor, and they were targeted for assassination. They were tagged as dissident terrorist in Palparan’s list and his list even included me. That’s why I needed to leave the diocese for a while, while Palparan was there,” he added.

He said that was about 11 years ago, when he was executive director of Peasant Empowerment and Advocacy Network (Peasant-Net), a founding leader of Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN). Gariguez was also a part-time staff for Mangyan Mission at the time.

Palparan was assigned in Mindoro and Romblon from May 2001 to April 2003 as commander of the Philippine Army’s 204th Brigade.

Also, Gariguez said his 40th birthday was marked with an “unforgettable period of brutal liquidation of leaders of progressive movements” in Mindoro.

During that time, suspected rebel sympathizers were killed, tortured, decapitated, or summarily executed.

Gariguez said he documented the extrajudicial killings in Mindoro, many of which involved torture.

“I worked for the Mangyan Mission during that time and I was the executive director for the Church-based farmers’ apostolate, Peasant-Net, and we were pursuing agrarian reform program in Mindoro,” he said.

He added he also led the anti-mining campaign, “so most of the time we have mobilizations or rallies.”

“Palparan thought those people expressed their sentiments are already communists,” he said.

Palparan was captured in Sta. Mesa, Manila before dawn Tuesday. He was brought to the National Bureau of Investigation head office.

He faces charges for the disappearance of two women in Bulacan in 2006, but has denied the allegations. Joel Locsin /LBG, GMA News

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