June 23, 2010
Lorena P. Santos, Deputy Secretary General
Desaparecidos Expresses Dismay over the Supreme Court Non-Decision on Jonas Burgos Case
“For the Families of the Disappeared for Justice, the Supreme Court did not bestow justice; it only prolonged the Burgoses’ agony.” This was the statement made today by Lorena Santos, Deputy Secretary General of Desaparecidos or Families of the Disappeared for Justice after the Supreme Court came out with its non-decision over the Writ of Amparo on the Jonas Burgos abduction case.
“After making the Burgos family wait for more than a year for the Supreme Court ruling on the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos, the decision is still found wanting,” Santos said unable to hide her disappointment.
The victims’ organization said that the Supreme Court failed to come up with a decision on the Writ of Amparo brought to their court after the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal filed by the Burgoses. The Court of Appeals dismissed the case due to “lapses” by the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in investigating the case. “Those were not lapses but a cover up on the abduction of Jonas Burgos.” Santos stated.
“With the Supreme Court ordering the Commission on Human Rights to conduct an investigation on the case, it seems the legal woes of the Burgos family will be starting all over again.” Santos shared while reminding the public that Jonas Burgos’ family had previously filed a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights during the term of the CHR Chairperson Purificacion Quisumbing. “The Commission ordered a suspension of the hearings then.” Santos lamented. “The Burgos family expressed the futility of the proceedings at the Commission at that time,” she continued.
According to the Supreme Court ruling, President Arroyo should be taken out from the respondents. “It is simply unacceptable. She is the commander-in-chief of the AFP and her state policies include Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch) that gives power to the military to abduct and disappear people like Jonas,” Santos adds.
“Is this what we shall expect with the other pending Writ of Amparo cases that families of victims of enforced disappearances have filed before the High Courts?” Santos asks.
Decisions for petitions for the Writ of Amparo for the disappearance of National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant for the peace process Leo Velasco, and, the UP Students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan are still pending with the Supreme Court. They have been missing for almost four years now.
Meanwhile, with the acceptance of CHR Commissioner, Atty. Leila de Lima of the DOJ post under the Aquino administration, it is uncertain what future the holds with regards the Burgos case; however, families of the Disappeared hopes that with Atty. De Lima at the DOJ helm she will still continue to do what she has done while she was CHR Commissioner. ###