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The butcher general on run from the law

MANILA (UCAN) : A manhunt is underway for the notorious Butcher of Mindanao, retired general and former security chief, Jovito Palparan. He is wanted in connection with the disappearance of two students from the University of The Philippines in June 2006, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno.

Palparan is on the immigration watchlist and was barred from boarding a plane to Singapore on December 21. He went into hiding on that date before an arrest warrant cold be issue for him.

Two of the former general’s aides believed to be complicit in the disappearances, Felipe Anotado and Edgardo Osorio, are already in custody, while a third, Rizal Hilario, is still at large.

Authorities say they are acting on the positive testimony of a witness, Raymond Manalo, who claimed he was detained in a room with the two victims in an alleged safe house belonging to the Seventh Infantry Division, which was then headed by Palparan.

Human rights groups have dubbed Palparan The Butcher, because of the number of extrajudicial killings he is believed to have been responsible for.

Interior secretary, Jesse Robredo, and justice secretary, Leila de Lima, have formed a joint task force to track down and arrest Palparan.

Church officials, who have long suspected Palparan of having committed atrocities, have welcomed the arrest order.

Father Jose Dizon, from Imus, the convener of the National Clergy Discernment Group, said, “(It) is a very good development, because finally General Palparan will have his day in court. It seems he knew he was going to be arrested, that’s why he tried to flee.”

He added, “My advice to him is to surrender. Flight is a sign of guilt.”