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Saturday, Sep. 09, 2006 at 6:56 AM
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President Arroyo has appointed controversial Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan as deputy national security adviser for the government’s anti-insurgency campaign, Malacañang announced yesterday. Presidential chief of staff Michael Defensor said Palparan will assume his new post when he officially retires from the military on Sept. 11. As expected, Palparan’s appointment to a sensitive government post was denounced by militant groups that have complained that the retiring Army officer is behind the extra-judicial killings of leftist activist
Palparan named deputy NSA
By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star 09/09/2006
President Arroyo has appointed controversial Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan as deputy national security adviser for the government’s anti-insurgency campaign, Malacañang announced yesterday.
Presidential chief of staff Michael Defensor said Palparan will assume his new post when he officially retires from the military on Sept. 11.
As expected, Palparan’s appointment to a sensitive government post was denounced by militant groups that have complained that the retiring Army officer is behind the extra-judicial killings of leftist activists.
Palparan said he is happy to accept another job in government after his retirement but admitted it was frustrating to leave the military service with the level of insurgency still high.
"I will be happy if I could help in the counterinsurgency," he told reporters.
Palparan said he is grateful for the trust and confidence Mrs. Arroyo had given him.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Palparan has the qualifications to perform other functions of government.
"This shows he has the confidence of the President," he added.
Bunye said the criticisms against Palparan were to be expected.
"(He is being criticized) even in his present position. We don’t expect them (militant groups) to stop just because he changed his job. So I think the basic opposition from these same groups will remain," Bunye said.
The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said the appointment of Palparan is "a great injustice and an insult to all the victims of extra-judicial killings and abductions."
"It is clear for the whole world to see that the Arroyo administration does not intend to stop the wave of extra-judicial killings that has plagued the country," said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr.
Bayan had accused Palparan of committing human rights violations against perceived enemies of the state, including activists in Mindoro, Eastern Visayas, and Central Luzon.
Palparan is currently facing contempt charges at the Court of Appeals after the Army official failed to appear in the habeas corpus proceedings for the two missing students of the University of the Philippines who were allegedly abducted by military agents in Bulacan recently.
Meanwhile, party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna filed a libel suit against Palparan and Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon who allegedly linked the congressman to the communist New People’s Army rebels.
Casiño said on Nov. 17, 2005, Palparan and Esperon, who was then the Army commanding general, showed reporters a video footage showing him allegedly briefing NPA rebels in Northern Samar.
He said the footage was actually an edited video of a talk he gave during a solidarity night to mark the end of the Tacloban-Catarman Peace Caravan held on March 9, 2005.
"The statements of Esperon and Palparan were utter falsehood maliciously meant to defame me, tarnish my reputation and honor, and make me vulnerable to harassment, intimidation, and assassination The edited video they selectively showed was falsely and maliciously presented as a footage of a meeting I had with members of the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines when in fact, no such meeting took place," Casiño explained.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan expressed apprehension over Palparan’s appointment.
He said Palparan will join a group of officials in the executive department who were appointed to positions that do not exist under the government plantilla.
"There is Gen. Benjamin Defensor (special ambassador for counterterrorism), then there is Undersecretary Ricardo Blanco (chief of the anti-terrorism Task Force), and of course there is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (presidential adviser on counterterrorism). Now comes Palparan. all of them practically have the same job description for a position that does not exist under the plantilla of any government agency," Lacson said.
Pangilinan said Palparan’s military solution (to the insurgency) had been employed before and has failed to eliminate the insurgency.
"It is good governance in the grassroots that will stamp out social unrest and ultimately the insurgency," he said.
Speaking to reporters at the Palace, Palparan said some of the highlights of his career would include the successful crushing of coup attempts from 1987 to 1989 and the dissolution of the Alex Boncayao Brigade, the NPA urban hit squad.
"I don’t have any regrets but I am not yet contented with what I have done, but how I wish I could have led the Armed Forces in this counterinsurgency in a bigger role because I believe insurgency can be resolved quickly through appropriate strategies," Palparan said.
He said he is proud to have successfully fought against the insurgency in various provinces including Oriental Mindoro, where he earned the tag "berdugo" or butcher.
"It’s unfair but a majority of the people do not believe that," he said.
After retirement, Palparan said he would have time to "be in the loving arms of my wife and my children."
Palparan also belittled the threat of the NPA to get back at him when he retires. The rebels even dubbed him as a "dead man walking."
"I am free and happy walking around and kicking around," he said.
Palparan believes that most Filipinos want to live in peace and will not support the communists rebels.
"I will do a lot of information drive and inspire people," Palparan said. — With Katherine Adraneda, Dino Balabo, Mike Frialde, Marvin Sy
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