Filipino Americans under the banner of BAYAN-USA condemned the “homecoming” of two villains today: General Jovito Palparan, notoriously known as “the Butcher” and the U.S. military. Palparan is responsible for thousands of extrajudicial killings, disappearances and torture during his stint with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and was recently arrested and transferred on September 15 into a military prison instead of serving time in a civilian jail while awaiting trial. After eluding capture and arrest for two years, for the case of the abduction of two University of the Philippines students, Palparan was finally nabbed and jailed in August. “Palparan’s transfer to the military prison is like a homecoming for the butcher rather than the punishment that he deserves. Why does he get to enjoy the company of his military comrades in the comfort of his old stomping grounds?” said BAYAN-USA Secretary General Jessica Antonio.
The Butcher’s transfer ironically took place on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the termination of the US-Philippines bases agreement, a landmark action taken by the Philippine Senate to end the decades-long agreement allowing the largest overseas US military bases to be planted on Philippine territory. Instead of continuing to uphold Philippine sovereignty symbolized by the termination of that agreement, the BS Aquino administration betrayed the Filipino people by unleashing a new wave of US military infestation in the Philippines in the form of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) forged earlier this year. The EDCA signifies the homecoming of US bases, by allowing US troops and advisers to occupy Philippine military installations, utilize civilian and military airports and seaports, and wage training and exercises on Philippine land and in the waters and airspace.
“Palparan’s transfer betrays the courage of the Butcher’s survivors and victims’ families, who fought day and night to make sure he was captured and brought to justice. The thousands of people who were tortured and killed by Palparan will never be able to have a homecoming,” said Antonio.
HR Violators Home Safe Under BS Aquino
“Likewise, the mass movement fought for years to kick the US bases out of the Philippines, but with the stroke of a pen BS Aquino has welcomed them back to their ‘second home’—the Philippines. The EDCA is bringing back the good old days for the American military, because they’ll be able to brutalize Filipino women and children, dump toxic waste, and conduct operations on Philippine soil under the guise of ‘exercises’ just as they did before. Today, it’s even worse because they won’t even have to pay a dime of rent for use of Philippine facilities,” continued Antonio.
Chickens Home to Roost
Palparan’s transfer and the betrayal of the US-RP bases agreement termination will serve one good purpose: further inspiring the movement for fundamental change in the Philippines. “The chickens have certainly come home to roost with Palparan’s transfer to the military prison and the return of US military bases. BS Aquino should be warned that this will only stoke the fire of the people to continue the struggle to fight for genuine national democracy in the Philippines. And that change could even start with the ouster of Aquino,” ended Antonio.