Court acquits Army officer on Jonas Burgos case


By Raymund B. Villanueva, Kodao

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC) acquitted an army officer of arbitrarily detaining disappeared activist Jonas Burgos Thursday, October 12, saying the prosecution failed to prove he participated in the actual abduction.

Philippine Army Major Harry Ballaga was cleared of the charge after QC RTC Branch Judge Alfonso Ruiz II found the testimonies by at least three Commission on Human Rights (CHR) witnesses as deficient in probative value.

“The first duty of the prosecution is to identify the accused as malefactor of the alleged crime…The accused was not identified as those who participated in the victim’s abduction,” part of the Court’s promulgation said.

“This kind (CHR’s) of testimony is hearsay in nature and, the Court is constrained to say, has little to no probative value enough to sustain the accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” it added.

Both Ballaga and Burgos’ mother Editha calmly listened to the 15-minute promulgation.

Ballaga approached Mrs. Burgos after the reading of the judgment and offered his hand.  Mrs. Burgos graciously took it and nodded in acknowledgment of Ballaga’s gesture.

“The process and the system is imperfect as it is full of imperfect people. But the Lord said, ‘Revenge is mine,’” the Discalced Carmelite said.

“This is just a temporary setback. The search for Jonas and the quest for justice will go on,” she added.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers, private prosecutors to the case, said that while they respect the decision, they disagree with the Court’s judgment.

“Someone must be held accountable for what happened to Jonas,” NUPL’s Atty Edre Olalia said. [Re-posted from Kodao]

Posted by on October 12, 2017. Filed under Headlines,Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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