Rights body hails CA ruling AFP behind Burgos abduction


The Court of Appeals (CA) ruling declaring the Armed Forces of the Philippines and not Leftist rebels was directly responsible for the “enforced disappearance” of journalist and activist Jonas Burgos is being hailed as a “concrete, positive step” towards getting to the bottom of the climate of impunity which gripped the Arroyo administration.

Commission on Human Rights Chair Loretta Ann P. Rosales on Wednesday bared the March 18 decision of the Court of Appeals on the petition for habeas corpus filed by Burgos’ mother, Edita, against the AFP and its officers led by former Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon which she said reinforced the perception of a military cover-up of the abduction.

In a statement, Rosales said the CA decision recognized the abduction of Jonas Burgos as an enforced disappearance case covered by the rule on the writ of amparo. “The decision is noteworthy because it categorically declares the AFP, as an institution, directly accountable for the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos. This conclusion effectively discredits the theory propounded by the Armed Forces that Jonas was the victim of an internal CPP-NPA plot,” said Rosales.


 ‘Persuasive proof’

“The court held that the impleaded high officials of the AFP—Generals Esperon, [Lt. Gen. Romeo] Tolentino, Juanito Gomez and Delfin Bangit, etc.—were ‘imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance’ and therefore duty-bound to disclose all relevant facts concerning the case, as well as to investigate it with extraordinary diligence. Unfortunately, by failing to fully cooperate with the CHR investigation team, to the extent of denying the team access to vital documents, the AFP has failed to comply with its duties,” said Rosales. “The unwillingness of the respondent officers of the 56th IB to cooperate in the investigation conducted by CHR was taken by the Court as ‘persuasive proof of the alleged cover-up of the military’s involvement in the enforced disappearance.’”


Maj. Harry Baliaga Jr.

The court not only ruled that Maj. Harry A. Baliaga Jr., and the AFP, specifically the Philippine Army, as responsible for Burgos’ disappearance, it also held the Philippine National Police accountable for failing to conduct an exhaustive investigation of the case.

Rosales said the court cited the Balao v Macapagal-Arroyo case to differentiate the military’s responsibility and accountability:

“Accountability … refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to those who have exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility …; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of enforced disappearance.”

“I am happy over these developments. They are concrete positive steps on the part of the judiciary to address the climate of impunity that claimed the lives of hundreds of human rights activists during the previous administration,” said Rosales.

3 separate probes

Rosales said that the CA directed the AFP, the PNP CIDG, and the CHR to continue with their respective probes until all those responsible for the disappearance of Burgos have been brought to justice. The court likewise urged the PNP-CIDG to look into whether the abductors in the Burgos and Erap 5 incident case were the same. Rosales said that the police and military have likewise been ordered to provide full assistance to the CHR including submission of quarterly reports on the progress of their investigations.

“All in all, the court mandates three separate investigations. In order, however, to realize the twin goals of serving justice on the perpetrators of Jonas’s enforced disappearance, and turning the AFP and the PNP away from their repressive reputation, the resources—time, personnel and logistical—of the three institutions must be brought to bear under a common spirit of justice, transparency and accountability,” said Rosales.

Rosales said the CHR would request the court to “to elaborate on the full measure of accountability ascribed to the AFP, i.e. whether this extends to the duty to recompense the family of Jonas Burgos as required under international human rights law.”

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  • rlo

    But I’m just wondering…..have we prosecuted any members of the CPP/NPA/NDF yet or any of it’s subsidiaries? I guess not.

    • User Guest

      idiot … the armed forces don’t want to prosecute because they use “enforced disappearances”

      • rlo

        maybe that’s why your name is “user guest”…..you forced yourself to disappear.

    • tlb6432

      CPP/NPA/NDF are presently enemies of the state, that’s why AFP/PNP are still going after them..not sure how effective these days though..

    • leubas

      Dimwit,,,your wondering is misplaced!

    • muddygoose

      Yes, maraming nang nakakulong, some as political prisoners, although many are held as criminals. The numbers were worse during previous administrations, particulary Marcos and Cory, but here are some current stats from an NGO Karapatan:

      ‘Karapatan records show that out of the 360 political prisoners as of August this year, at least 303 (84 percent) have been charged with common crimes and 15 (14 percent) have been charged with rebellion. Twenty others have been charged with common crimes in addition to rebellion, two were charged with “terrorism” while there is no sufficient available data for the rest of the twenty.’

      • ApoLapullapu

        At least they were charged, meaning that there is probable cause.

    • ApoLapullapu

      There was no prosecution of CPP-NPA elements on the Burgos disappearance because the evidence tend to point to the Army men.

      • rlo

        Not what I meant. I meant in general. The other guy above answered my Q.

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    While this is sort of good news, those responsible are still enjoying their freedom……

    • zeroko

      The first step to the thousand mile journey.


    DITO hindi ko sigurado kung may kinalaman si Mike A. Pero si Palparang pugante, siguradong may alam. Tirahin ng husto ang lahat ng kasangkot at ikulong habang buhay.

  • zeroko

    Congrats! Now who is the mastermind? Remember that banana eating monkey who was the Security Adviser of Glora which is none other than Norberto Gonzales. That guy is the culprit. He openly says, during the height of gloria’s power, that anyone who objects to gloria’s ruleing is considered an enemy of the state. And Palparan is a very good example of a butcher who executes his policy. May he suffer in hell, these two murders.

    • ApoLapullapu

      This attitude of some military men were acquired during Martial Law. Fortunately, our Armed Forces have adopted a new doctrine and our young officers and men consider themselves not only as fighting men defending the security of the State but partners of the civilian government and the people in nation building.

      • tarikan

        The Euro generals, Gens. Reyes, Garcia, Ligot, Villanueva, those pabaon generals whose names escape my mind, other mid-ranked officers who were similarly situated are post-martial law babies. But still displaying martial law (bad) habits — like enriching themselves. All are products of PMA.

      • ApoLapullapu

        No, they belong to Classes earlier than 1981. They are not post-martial law cadets. Class ’90 are the true post-martial law babies. But to give credit to the AFP, the new AFP doctrine was crafted by an officer belonging to Class ’81.

      • rlo

        yes……sometimes just too much HR indoctrination that they become lightheaded leftist proxies.

  • randyaltarejos

    A job well-done for the CHR. However, the Ever Gotesco management must also be made answerable for the disappearance of Jonas Burgos. Why? It didn’t install a CCTV camera that would monitor its surroundings so that those bad elements or whatever illegal activities that are in progress within its vicinity can be tracked at once. Through the CCTV, the identities of the soldiers who forcibly took Jonas out of the building could have been known.

    • ApoLapullapu

      At that time, high resolution CCTV surveillance systems were not yet available in this country.

  • speedstream2

    Where is Jonas Burgos? Until a definitive answer is provided, the CA ruling is just a victory of sorts, half a victory, if you will. To make it a complete victory, those responsible for his disappearance must be hauled to court and made to answer for their crime.

    • disqus_csV255YYsX

      Below the ground and already eaten by worms but the Military is always above the ground and beyond the reach of common people.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XQODE2FO77XSRL7WNORTHGEKUU Eric

    cpp/npa/ndf worthy of extinction and has no place in a civil society like eta rosales, c.h.r . only for the leftist.

    • globe_smart_sun

      Wow! so sino may place sa lipunang ito? Yun ba mga berdugong militar?

  • gryzyxwoz

    Now maybe they can get to the bottom of this case….

  • eirons1043

    First- who are the members of the CA division who penned this courageous but late decision, lets give them a standing ovation. Second – The PNP and the AFP are both controlled by Phil. Military Academy’s Generals , Colonels and even Majors since Martial Law so there is no practical point of separating their responsibility and besides these entities are both directly under the Office of the President. Third – expect Atty. One Ball Topacio (the new Estelito M.) to appeal the decision to the SC. I wonder why up to now there is no PCIJ report on the wealth of Gloria and Mike who were in absolute power for 9 years.

    • ApoLapullapu

      The PCIJ do not report based on propaganda. it needs hard evidence.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YO4QYV7TG6VV5TSKPZXNKQHKUE Brando

    Remember how the communists work in the name of political propaganda. One example of this was the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing where senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party were holding their ‘miting de avance’. A grenade was thrown unto the stage where Sen. Salonga et al were. Salonga lost one eye as a result and scores wounded. They blamed this to Marcos. It was only in 1987 when Victor Corpuz – a soldier turned NPA rebel turned soldier – said the bombing was the handiwork of the NPA designed to further discredit Marcos and his Nationalista Party. By the way, Ninoy Aquino, one of the senatorial candidates and stalwart of the LP, was absent in that very important political gathering.

    • ApoLapullapu

      Marcos was a very intelligent operator. He had everything under control at the time. His intelligence network under Fabian Ver was formidable. If the Plaza Miranda bombing was indeed a handiwork of the NPA, Marcos could have prevented it.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YO4QYV7TG6VV5TSKPZXNKQHKUE Brando

        Hahaha! George Bush Jr. and his CIA did not even know that the Al Quedda will strike in September 11, 2001.

      • yxoiyiu

        Mismong sina former senators Eva Estrada Kalaw na pinsan mismo ni Ninoy at si Jovito Salonga na lawyer-friend ni Ninoy, pati na si columnist Carmen Pedrosa ay inamin na kagagawan ng CPP-NPA, sa pamumuno si Joma Sison, ang pagbobomba sa Plaza Miranda.

        Panoorin mo ang youtube, kung saan inamin nina Jovy Salonga, Eva Kalaw at Carmen Pedrosa na ngayon ay alam na nila na CPP-NPA ang may kagagawan ng pambobomba.

        ApoLapulapu, huli ka na ba sa balita at hindi mo pa alam na CPP-NPA ang may pakana ng Plaza Miranda bombing? Hindi ka ba nagtataka kung bakit sa napaka-importanteng event na iyon ng opposition ay wala si Ninoy?

        Hindi man lang sinabihan ni Ninoy sina Jovy Salonga at Eva Kalaw na wag pumunta ng Plaza Miranda at bobombahin iyon.

      • ApoLapullapu

        I also asked that same question before. Why was Ninoy absent from a very important event of the Liberal Party? But the witnesses that the Marcos intelligence machine used in pointing the blame of the Plaza Miranda bombing to the communists were later on liquidated and silenced forever after being used. Everything is still possible. The results were not conclusive.

      • yxoiyiu

        saan mo naman nalaman ang balitang kutsero na iyan, na pinapatay ni Marcos ang mga witnesses sa Plaza Miranda bombing?

        ang nagpapatay mismo sa ilang mga witnesses (na mga NPA din) ay si Joma Sison dahil naging maingay sila at binagabag sila ng konsensya kung bakit ang mga kalaban ni Marcos sa politika ay binomba din ng CPP-NPA.

      • ApoLapullapu

        They were under custody for a while. Then they were declared killed by CPP-NPA agents.

    • globe_smart_sun

      absent si Ninoy noon kasi hindi sya pinapunta ni marcos, magka brod sa frat si ninoy at marcos FYI.

  • ApoLapullapu

    This outcome is expected. The military and the police cannot just blame the CPP-NPA for any disappearance. If they do so, they must be able to present evidence and file the appropriate charges against the CPP-NPA people involved. They are on the side of the law, so they are expected to be able to enforce the law. Otherwise, there would be anarchy in this country.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/YO4QYV7TG6VV5TSKPZXNKQHKUE Brando

      So is there an evidence that the AFP did it? All they have are products of imagination. There is no single piece of evidence.

      • tarikan

        How about the van used in the abduction. There were witnesses and plate number recorded. It was traced to an AFP camp. Ano nakikigarahe sila Kaka sa NPA sa mismong campo ng AFP? Were you following the case Brando or nangungulangot laang?

      • ApoNiLolo

        Or how about the men who picked Burgos in Gotesco whom WITNESSES inside the restaurant identified from several pictures given to them and eventually proved to be AFP personnel?

        Tama si tarikan, ignorante kang nag dudunong-dunongan. >: D

      • brando alejandro

        then show the evidence in court! is there one?

      • ApoNiLolo

        Are you reading the news or you’re just commenting for the sake of the argument? All these evidence were submitted. That’s the reason CA favored against the military.

        Magbasa-basa ka naman. Paki wari ko’y nakikipag-usap ako sa grade 1.

      • ApoLapullapu

        The Court of Appeals has ruled.

  • m1600

    lol . SA PANAHON NI SIMEON walang pag asa ang mga biktima ng CPP/NPA yung MNorong 43 pinalaya ni Simeon despite 3 of them choose to remain in custody of the AFP hindi na bumalik sa mga terrorista na NPA. MAbuhay ang gobyerno ni simeon na tagapagtangol ng mga salot na CPP/NPA.

  • virgoyap

    Getting real will bring us closer to the truth…

  • $16638896

    possibleng ang nagbaon sa kanya sa lupa mga kupal na npa tapos ibibintang sa military.

  • lemon88

    tHAT REALLY A WELCOME GOOD NEWS. THE QUESTION IS “ANGGANG KAILAN” MAGBABAGO LAHAT KUNG MAGKAKAROON NG 360 REFORM SA AFP; PNP AT POLITICAL SYSTEM NAtin. but habang nandyan pa sa “mainstream” ng political system ang lahat ng kurakot generals (marami parin I’m sure); trapo specially the likes of estrada, enrile; fuentebella, revilla and many others ay mananatili tayong nasa ibaba among ASEAN countries.

  • tarikan

    Ang CA magaling talaga, magaling sumipsip sa taong bayan o hatid laang ng Semana Santa, natakot hahaha. Matapos mabatikos sa Dr. Ortega/Reyes Bros./1st Panel/2nd Panel/DOJ decision, kambio agad sa favorable Jonas Burgos decision. Pero kumita na dun sa una di bale wala na muna kay Burgos. Bawi na laang sa mga susunod na kaso after Holy Week…naku marami pa diyan.

  • yxoiyiu

    hindi ko alam kung ano bang meron ke jonas burgos at kailangan pag-aksayahang dukutin siya ng afp, pnp. baka naman cpp-npa ang dumukot sa kanya at bine-blame lang ang afp.

    sa korte, malalaman talaga kung may kinalaman ang afp sa pagkawala ni jonas.

    • caberin

      For your info, the vehicle plates used in the abduction of Jonas Burgos were traced to a military vehicle. The military’s lame excuse was that the plates were stolen from the military camp where the military vehicle was parked.

      Would you believe that? If the NPA/CPP can steal car plates from military vehicles parked inside military camps without the military knowing it, then nobody is secure anymore! Tsk tsk tsk, such a lousy excuse.

  • pogiako

    etat rosales… election fever na nga

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    hanapin niyo si PALPARAN…

  • ApoNiLolo

    ‘Tis sad to see how slow investigation and justice crawls in the Philippines. Only now did they solved a puzzle that was known to ordinary people in the past by just putting two-and-two together.

  • Manuel_II

    CHR is a front of CPP/NPA we should held them accountable for the deaths and destruction on our country for the past 40 years.

    • Platypus09

      I like that idea.

  • regd

    Maybe the AFP abducted Burgos then released, afterwards the leftist to make a case against them AFP silence the guy permanently? Plausible? Don’t beat me up, I’m just saying.

  • MrRead

    If that were a Chinese Ship, China would pursue pulling the ship out to deeper waters at the expense of the Reef. China is really a curse of the Humankind.

  • Pio Gante

    makes me wonder what kind and how much persuasion will be needed in order for one to come up with the ‘persuasive proof’

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