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Jonas Burgos’ abduction suspects to face DOJ today

Press Release
June 8, 2012

Preliminary Investigation begins today

Maj. Harry Baliaga and other military men implicated in Jonas Burgos’ abduction to face DOJ today

“We hope that this case will proceed to trial given the rigorous and tedious process the Burgos family had patiently gone through.” Mary Guy Portajada, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice said during the first hearing of the Preliminary Investigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the case filed against Major Harry Baliaga.

Edita Burgos, mother of missing Jonas, together with other families of desaparecidos and human rights organizations held a picket protest in front of Department of Justice

Almost exactly a year ago, on June 9, 2011, Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of missing farmer- activist Jonas Burgos, filed a criminal case of Arbitrary Detention against Baliaga, Lt. Col. Melquiades and Col. Eduardo Año while Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and Gen. Avelino Razon were charged with Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders. These cases were filed when the Burgos family got hold of the Commission of Human Rights Investigative Report on the disappearance of Jonas, where Maj. Baliaga was positively identified by key witness Jeffrey Cabintoy, as one of the abductors.

“The prosecution panel of the DOJ should not waste any time in pursuing this case for the Burgos family has waited long enough for justice and for Jonas,” Portajada said. “The AFP has been covering up the truth about Jonas and all other desaparecidos. Baliaga and other respondents should answer to the allegations and tell the truth.” Portajada continued.

Furthermore, the human rights group urged the rest of the Filipinos to join them in vigilance in monitoring the progress of the case. “We will not allow our efforts in pinning down these perpetrators be put to waste. We will see through this case until we achieve justice,” Portajada said.

While Malacañang Palace has been bragging about the rising approval ratings of the president on surveys, “Families of victims of human rights violations under the Gloria Arroyo regime will always give a negative rating to Pres. Noynoy Aquino as long as Mrs. Arroyo and his military minions are not convicted of their crimes against us and against the Filipino people,” Portajada ended. ###

Patricia Evangelista at Rappler reports three former commanding generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines appearing for the first preliminary investigation were charged with obstruction of apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders.

Former Armed Forces chief Hermogenes Esperon, former police chief Avelino Razon Jr, and former Army commanding general Romeo Tolentino filed joint counter-affidavits before assistant state prosecutor George Yarte Jr. 

Meanwhile army Major Harry Baliaga the who was positively identified by the witness Jeffrey Cabintoy filed his separate counter-affidavit.

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