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Justice department holds preliminary hearing on criminal cases filed by Burgos family against military

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Justice department holds preliminary hearing on criminal cases filed by Burgos family against military
“I want to believe that there is hope.” – Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – Unlike Jonas Burgos, an activist abducted on April 28, 2007, military officials implicated in his enforced disappearance are being given an opportunity to defend themselves.

“The chance that they are giving Harry to defend himself is not an opportunity they gave my son. But we are not like them. We are God-fearing. We know how to love and we know how to forgive,” Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of Jonas, said.

Jonas, who is also the son of late press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr., was abducted on April 28, 2007 inside a mall in Quezon City. His family, friends and comrades continue to search for him to this day. The military has long been implicated to his enforced disappearance but it was only until Jeffrey Cabintoy, the busboy of the restaurant where Jonas was seen eating, identified Major Harry Baliaga Jr. during the investigation of the Commission on Human Rights that his alleged abductors finally had a name and a face.
Cabintoy, during the recent Writ of Amparo hearing before the Court of Appeals, positively identified Baliaga, who was sitting inside the courtroom. “It is him. It is him,” he said in Filipino.


Major Harry Baliaga Jr takes his oath before the state prosecutor of the Department of Justice (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)
A year after they filed criminal cases of kidnapping and arbitrary detention against Baliaga, Lt. Col. Melquiades and Col. Eduardo Año and Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders against former high ranking military officials namely former military chief of staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and former Police director general Avelino Razon, the Department of Justice finally summoned both the complainants and respondents for the first preliminary hearing.

“I want to believe that there is hope. Today is the first hearing and I am happy that these people [referring to former top state security officials] went out to give their sworn statements [before the state prosecutor],” Mrs. Burgos told Bulatlat.com.

Military did not cooperate

In an ambush interview, Gen. Esperon, one of the high ranking military officials charged with Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders, said he ordered an investigation on Jonas’ abduction but it is “classified,” meaning that it is not open to the public, including Mrs. Burgos..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/06/11/justice-department-holds-preliminary-hearing-on-criminal-cases-filed-by-burgos-family-against-military/

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