THE Department of Justice (DOJ) will look into claims that retired Army Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. is enjoying preferential treatment at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) where he is serving a 40-year imprisonment for the disappearance of two University of the Philippines student-activists in 2006.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has tasked Undersecretary Deo Marco to look into the complaint of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) that Palparan has yet to be transferred to the maximum security compound of the prison facility in Muntinlupa City.
The NUPL has submitted a motion before Branch 15 of the Malolos City, Bulacan Regional Trial Court asking the court to order the “termination of the special privileges” that Palparan is allegedly enjoying at the NBP.
It claimed that Palparan has been overstaying at the Directorate for Reception and Diagnostics (DRD) of the NBP, where inmates are supposed to stay for no more than 60 days while they get familiarized with prison rules and regulations.
Palparan, the group insisted, should have already been transferred to the maximum security compound where heinous crimes convicts and those serving life terms are incarcerated.
The group likewise said that the convicted soldier has been given access to a computer, internet and other privileges that are prohibited for other inmates.
“I will look into this allegation. It has always been the policy of the DOJ to ensure that all persons deprived of liberty in correctional facilities are treated uniformly, subject to only a few exceptions based on humanitarian grounds.” Guevarra said.
The Bureau of Corrections has already denied they were giving special treatment to the retired general.
“The BuCor does not provide any special treatment for any inmate or person deprived of liberty. The overall safety and reformation of PDLs is the main mandate of the BuCor,” corrections Director General Gerald Bantag has said.
Though the statement did not specifically answer the NUPL’s claim that Palparan has been overstaying at the DRD, the BuCor said that they have instituted security measures for the latter due to threats to his life.
“In the case of PDL Jovito Palparan Jr., there are intelligence information regarding threat to his life which can be aggravated if he is mixed with the general PDL population,” the BuCor said.
Palparan is serving life sentence for the disappearance of UP student-activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in 2006.