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The disqualified party-list organization of retired Army general Jovito Palparan was among the latest groups to get a reprieve from the Supreme Court in connection with the May 2013 elections.
In a notice of resolution, the high court sitting en banc issued a status quo ante order that would allow Palparan's Bantay party-list and three others groups, namely Abroad, Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc (Cocofed), and Agri-Agra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng Pilipinas Movement (Agri) to participate in next year's polls.
"[The SC] requires the parties to observe the status quo prevailing before the issuance of the assailed Comelec Resolutions... without prejudice to the final ruling of this Court on the merits," the high court said in a resolution dated November 27.
Due to the status quo ante order, the Comelec would be required to include the names of these party-lists when it starts printing ballots for the May 2013 elections starting January 20, unless the high court decides on the merits of the cases before that date.
The court also ordered Abroad party-list to comply with the Rules of Civil Procedure, by properly verifying its petition and submitting a written explanation why it filed the petition by mail and not personally.
The court also ordered Abroad party-list to comply with the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, which "require affiants to be personally known to the notary public or identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity."
The four groups join 11 other groups that would benefit from the status quo ante order, including:
- AKO Bicol Political Party (AKB);
- Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC);
- Aksyon Magsasaka Partido Tinig ng Masa (AKMA-PTM]);
- Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala, Inc. (KAKUSA);
- 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc. (I-CARE);
- Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction Inc. (ARARO);
- Association for Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership (ARAL);
- Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC);
- Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD)
- 1-BRO Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc. (IBRO-PGBI); and
- Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance, Inc. (A-IPRA).
The court decided to consolidate the petition of Palparan's anti-communist insurgency party-list group and the three new ones with the 11 other petitions. Palparan, still wanted
Palparan had been lionized by the Arroyo administration for what many would call ruthless counterinsurgency tactics wherever he was assigned, which included Samar and Mindoro, hotbeds of the New People's Army.
Soon after the Arroyo administration heaped praise on Palparan for his counterinsurgency campaigns from 2001 to 2006, the report of the independent Melo Commission declared that, "there is certainly evidence pointing the finger of suspicion at some elements and personalities in the armed forces, in particular General Palparan, as responsible for an undetermined number of killings, by allowing, tolerating, and even encouraging the killings"
After Palparan's retirement from the military in 2006, he won a seat in Congress through Bantay party-list. Just before he retired, then-President Gloria Arroyo publicly commended him during her State of the Nation address and asked him to stand to acknowledge the crowd's ovation.
In the 2010 elections, he sought a Senate seat but was unsuccessful.
Palparan is currently the subject of an arrest warrant for the disappearance of two student activists in 2006.
Palparan, through his counsel, has asked the Bulacan court hearing his case to recall the arrest warrant and hold departure order issued against him.
Palparan belongs to the so-called "Big Five Fugitives," a group of suspected criminals for which the government has offered a P2 million reward each for their arrest.
He is on the list of high-profile fugitives together with former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, Globe Asiatique developer Delfin Lee, Dinagat Rep. Ruben Ecleo, and New People’s Army leaders Benito Tiamzon and Jorge Madlos.
The Reyes brothers and the NPA leaders are counted as one case each, thus the Big Five list. —KG, GMA News