Retired Philippine Army general Jovito Palparan was arrested in Metro Manila early Tuesday by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation.
Widely known as ‘The Butcher’, Palparan was indicted for the abduction of University of the Philippines student activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006. The two are still missing.
Palparan, a retired major general of the Army, is facing two counts of serious illegal detention.
He served the Philippine Army for 33 years before retiring as commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division based in central Luzon region.
Reports said the fugitive general has aged considerably since the time he went into hiding in 2010.
Cadapan and Empeño were doing field work when they were seized by armed men in Hagonoy, Bulacan.
A witness later said he saw Cadapan and Empeño inside a military camp being interrogated, tortured and raped by government security forces.
Palparan denied the charges although he was, at the time of the abductions, head of the central Luzon Army command.
He also served in the Eastern Visayas command of the Philippine Army where he gained notoriety as being behind a series of abductions and killings of anti-government activists suspected of aiding communist rebels.
A very controversial figure because of his hardline anti-communist stand, Palparan served in the Philippine House of Representatives from 2007 to 2010 as party-list representative of Bantay.
He tried to slip out of the country via Clark Airfield in Pampanga when government prosecutors began building the case against him, but was prevented from boarding his flight.
Palparan then went into hiding, until his arrest Tuesday.
He is among the country’s most notorious fugitives.
A P2 million (US$45,575) reward was offered for information leading to his capture.
Human rights groups have been pressuring the government to arrest the former army general.
Palparan was reported to have been sighted in different provinces in Mindanao in southern Philippines.
A source said he served as a security consultant to various mining firms while eluding the arrest team sent to track him down.
Palparan is not eligible for bail and could face life imprisonment if found guilty.