Is it too much to yearn for justice?

Photo from Rappler

I don’t think I can ever understand, much less respect the people who defend former Major General Jovito Palparan Jr.

It’s one thing to hate the New People’s Army or to support all shades of effort to curb insurgency. It is, however, completely twisted to forgive and exalt the so-called “Butcher” who trampled on our human rights and spit on them simply because he could.

From what neurons of the brain or which depths of the heart do these people pull their grit and reasons to ignore the Butcher’s sins? I’d like to think those sloppily argued comments in news websites were all written by the same person, nay troll, trying to adjust the fulcrum of public opinion. And where’s Vica Ganda’s tweet for the Palparan Warriors who flashed their printed streamers and called the Butcher “bayani”? I wonder how many kilos of rice those poor souls were able to buy after their mini gathering.

Man, has the world really gone this crazy?

It’s very easy for people to slam the label “commie” to anyone sympathizing with the relatives, the mothers of Palparan’s victims. You believe Palparan must be detained in Bulacan and not in some dainty NBI cell? You must be a communist! You condemn Palparan’s aggressive tactic of torturing captives and burning down villages? You must be a communist! You like the color red? Fuck yeah, salot kang komunista ka!

Weirdly, most of my friends — both the activists and the generally wa-pakelz — seem to share the same anger and agitation against Palparan’s human rights violations. This issue is one of the most inclusive among all other political conflicts; whatever ideology you espouse, defending our human rights will never be last priority.

The tiniest inkling about the horrors Palparan has done would be enough to tug at even the hardest of hearts. Palparan’s most prominent victims, two female UP students, were reported to have been gruesomely abused: one leg tied up while being hit, water blasted up their mouths and noses, pieces of wood inserted into their genitals. Who in their right mind would not abhor such evil?

Palparan has denied all these allegations, yet there are a number of witnesses ready to prove him guilty. One of them, Raymond Manalo, saw firsthand how the Butcher treated his captives like pigs slowly being slaughtered. Father Edwin Gariguez, a priest in Mindoro, is also willing to shed light on Palparan’s reign of terror. “Palparan lumped together all those in progressive movements, even people from the church doing justice advocacy for the poor, and they were targeted for assassination,” Fr. Gariguez said.

No, Manalo and Gariguez are neither communists nor paid witnesses — they themselves suffered Palparan’s depraved ways.

Some people say Palparan should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Sure, he deserves the right to a fair trial. But one cannot blame the people who call him names, who sincerely wish that he never gets out of jail ever again, who passionately pin him down as if he is Satan himself. This old man kidnapped and murdered innocent civilians. If he truly believed he was only prosecuting NPA members, he should have arrested them, charged them with illegal possession of some shit or charged them with rebellion. After all, his victims also deserve the fair trial he’s pleading for right now.

No one, not even communist insurgents, deserves to be treated the way Palparan treated his “kaaway.” He is one blood-thirsty wacko who resorted to torture, seemingly too confident that not even the state would grind his balls for going way too far. And even if he was only doing his job as some pro-torture (and possibly non-human) beings say, his military badge does not grace him the power to burn people alive and rape women with wooden blocks. Even Janet Napoles does not deserve that.

It may be comforting to picture Palparan chained with his one leg raised, a sleek surgical knife slicing thru his balls while his screams are muffled by the water blasting up his face. But in the end, all we’re really asking for is justice. That Palparan be tried and not given any special treatment. That he be put in jail for as long as he deserves. That the powerful elite realize that justice is not something only the poor and the powerless endure.

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