October 22, 2013
“The Burgos case is not on the track to justice. First, the brains of the abduction of Jonas Burgos was exonerated and Gen. Eduardo Año was even confirmed as Chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Now, while Maj. Harry Baliaga has a standing warrant of arrest against him, he can still bail himself out of prison for only P40,000,” said Lorena P. Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice.
Jonas Burgos was disappeared by soldiers for suspicion of being a New People’s Army member. He was abducted April 28, 2007 and remains missing. His mother, Edita, filed a case of arbitrary detention, murder and obstruction of justice against Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon Jr. But, all were dropped from the respondent’s list except for Maj. Harry Baliaga.
“The government does not realize how deeply enraged we are by the dropping of charges against the AFP generals led by Gen. Año and zeroing only on a small fry like Maj. Baliaga. But even the charges against Maj. Baliaga is useless because the Court provided him a P40,000 escape route. We expected Branch 216 of Quezon City to understand the gravity of this case,” Santos said. “By giving Maj. Baliaga a way to escape prosecution, another case of Palparan or Reyes is most likely on the way.” Santos continued.
Ret. Gen. Jovito Palparan is wanted for the kidnapping and illegal detention of the two missing students of the University of the Philippines; while ex -Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes is wanted for the killing of environmentalist Gerry Ortega. Both have standing arrest warrants since last year yet, both are still walking free and continue to escape arrest.
“The court should not let the Burgos case be watered down to a mere case of a common crime. This is a state perpetrated crime of probable murder aside from arbitrary arrest. Thus, perpetrators should be punished with the full force of the law,” Santos said.
“May we remind BS Noynoy Aquino that the world is watching at how the Burgos case and other cases of enforced disappearances in the Philippines will go. If the BS Aquino government will continue to let perpetrators of enforced disappearances go free, then he does not deserve to be in the Presidential office,” Santos concluded. ###
Reference: Lorena “Aya” Santos, Secretary General, Desaparecidos 09088121982