De Lima chides Bantag for justifying Palparan’s interview


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  Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima chided Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag for justifying the irregular media interview of convicted retired army general Jovito Palparan.

De Lima, a former Justice Secretary, reminded that a convicted Person Deprived of Liberty (PDL) has no right to be interviewed live by broadcast media as it “will always be a privilege that may or may not be granted by prison officials.”

 “The bottomline of Palparan’s interview therefore is that this was allowed not because of his expertise on the communist insurgency or his right to air his side, as peddled by Director General Bantag,” she said.

“It is simply a political maneuver to undermine the election chances of certain candidates and party-list groups identified by the Duterte Administration as partnering with the CPP-NPA, without an iota of evidence to support such allegations.,” she added.

De Lima further said: “I myself, being only a detention PDL who is not yet convicted, am deprived by the PNP Custodial authorities and the courts to have live interviews from jail. This only means that allowing the interview of a convicted prisoner about his criminal case that is still on appeal before the courts is already highly suspect in itself, if not patently irregular.”

Palparan, who was convicted for the kidnapping of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, was recently interviewed by SMNI News channel without the knowledge of both the DOJ and the court.

The said interview was denounced by relatives of missing UP students, describing it as “travesty of justice.”

Amid criticisms, Bantag justified allowing the Palparan interview as it supposedly aired the side of the convicted general on his supposed expertise on the communist insurgency, and that his opinion was needed to be aired.

In justifying the interview, De Lima pointed out that Bantag failed to clarify the glaring violation of the administration of justice committed during the interview.

“Palparan’s conviction is still on appeal before the Court of Appeals. Despite this, Palparan was allowed by the BuCor and the NTF-ELCAC to tell lies about his trial and the evidence against him to undermine the court that passed the judgment of conviction against him,” she said.

Additionally, De Lima stressed that the interview of Palparan “could also be a pretext, a prelude, for the presidential pardon of Palparan, another deal with a criminal convict, much like the secret deals made with other criminal convicts used by Duterte to falsely testify against me.” (30)

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