​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: No, Palparan DID NOT say he wants imprisoned soldiers released

A three-year-old fabricated quote card is circulating again on Facebook (FB), claiming convicted retired army Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. questioned why “communist leaders were being freed” while “soldiers who fought for democracy remained in jail.”

FB page Pres. Ferdinand Emmanuel E. Marcosuploaded a composite photo of Palparan on Aug. 26 with the statement:

“If the government can set free the Maoist-Communists’ CPP-NPA-NDF who have killed thousands of Filipinos; Civilians, soldiers and police, and still trying to grab political power through the barrel of their guns, why can’t we free soldiers who fought for our democracy?”

Its caption said:

Ang kalaban natin ay ang mga salot na Komunista. Ginawa lang ni Gen. Palparan ang tungkulin nyang proteksyonan ang bayan!

(Our enemy are the pestilent communists. Gen. Palparan only did his job to protect the country!)

The statement is fake. No legitimate news media organization carried the quote and interviews with the jailed former army general do not show he made this claim.

A reverse image search reveals that the foreground photo of Palparan was from Getty Images, a supplier of archival music, photos and videos. It was taken by Agence France Presse photographer Jay Directo on Jan. 12, 2006 during an interview inside the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters.

The background image is of Palparan’s media press conference taken from a 2014 UNTV news report when the general arrived at the Malolos, Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) following his apprehension on Aug. 12, 2014.

The quote card was first uploaded in October 2016 by FB page Juan Justice PH, months after President Rodrigo Duterte began ordering the release of political prisoners, identified as leaders of the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Dubbed as “The Butcher” by activists, Palparan was known for his relentless and campaign against the communist insurgency during Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s presidency. He has been accused of torture and murder.

In 2011, an arrest warrant was issued against him for the abduction of University of the Philippines (UP) students, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in Hagonoy, Bulacan.He went into hiding for three years, until he was spotted and seized in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

In 2016, he ran for senator while in detention and lost.

On Sept. 17, 2018, Palparan was found guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of the UP students and was sentenced to Reclusion Perpetua or 20 up to 40 years of jail time. He filed an appeal but this was turned down by the court.

In recent weeks, Crowdtangle, a social media monitoring tool, has shown several Facebook pages pushing for his release. This includes the page of former Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson, who interviewed Palparan on Aug 22.

The fake online post could have reach 873,061 followers with traffic largely coming from the page itself and BONGBONG MARCOS LOYALIST FACEBOOK WARRIORS.

Pres. Ferdinand Emmanuel E. Marcoswas created on May 18, 2012.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)


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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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