Philippines arrests ex-general 'The Butcher' after two-year manhunt

Ahram Online, Saturday 16 Aug 2014

Former army general and congressman Jovito Palparan is taken into custody, accused of torture, killings and forced disappearances

Jovito Palparan
Jovito Palparan (AP Photo)

Philippine security forces Tuesday arrested retired army Major-General Jovito Palparan in the suburb of Santa Mesa in Manila, ending a two-year hunt for one of the country's most wanted men.

Human rights groups dubbed Palparan "The Butcher" because of the number of alleged extrajudicial killings in areas where he was assigned.

In addition to his army career, Palparan was commander from July 2003 to July 2004 of the Philippine Humanitarian Contingent in Iraq. He also served as a congressman representing the Bantay Party list in the 14th Philippine Congress.

According to Al-Jazeera English, Palparan is accused of torture, killings and enforced disappearances of political activists in the Philippines.

UCA news reported that, "military spokesman Ramon Zagala said it was difficult to arrest Palparan because he is good at hiding."
"His advantage is he is one of us. He knows our techniques, he knows our procedures," Zagala said.

"He was reluctant to be arrested but after seeing that soldiers were among the arresting units he willingly surrendered," said Zagala.
"He ran away, but the long arm of the law caught up with him," he added.

Zagala said the arrest of Palparan disproves allegations by human rights groups that the military was protecting Palparan.
"We are a professional organisation," he said, adding that the military was given special instructions to capture the fugitive general.

Palparan went into hiding in December 2011 after a court in Bulacan Province issued a warrant for his arrest for the kidnapping of two university students in June 2006.

The government had offered around $114,000 for information that would lead to the former general's arrest.

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