NAGA CITY (BicolToday.com/04-April-2013) – The Philippine Army was tagged by the Court of Appeals as responsible for the enforced disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos in April 2007, but activists and human rights advocates in Manila called for the Army officers and men to face trial.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares lauded the decision of the Court of Appeals declaring that the Philippine Army is responsible for the enforced disappearance of Activist Jonas Burgos in April 2007.
“This proves the fact that the military are the perpetrators of human rights violations against activists and those who are critical of the government,” he said.
“However, other officials who were also implicated in the Burgos enforced disappearance particularly Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año must also be investigated,” Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Colmenares stressed.
Bicol Today.com yesterday learned that human rights groups have been very critical of the appointment of BGen. Año despite his being involved in enforced disappearances.
“After the CA decision, Pres. Noynoy must immediately sack and prosecute BGen. Año and other military officials involved in human rights violations,” said Rep. Colmenares.
“Action must also be brought against those who covered up for the crime from the Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAGO) who refused to divulge the report, the police who refused to investigate, the fiscals who refused to prosecute, and others who did not act in pursuit of justice, ” he added, referring to the orchestrated cover-up by agencies to hide the Burgos disappearance from public scrutiny.
Colmenares also expressed that the CA decision helped concretize the findings of UN Rapporteur Philip Alston about the involvement of the military in the extrajudicial killings as well as enforced disappearances perpetrated against activists.
“I hope this will serve as a step forward towards the prosecution of those responsible for the thousands of victims of human rights violations and for justice to dawn upon the families who were left suffering for so many years,” he said.
Recalling the case of the fugitive Army Gen. Jovito Palparan who has been in hiding since a warrant of arrest for the enforced disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, Rep. Colmenares challenges the Philippine Army to cooperate with the court and compel Army Major Harry Baliaga Jr. to face the charge against him.
“It will be easier for the Philippine Army to just cooperate with the courts, than keep on denying the charges against their members by victims of human rights violations. It is time that they admit their responsibility in all the human rights violations they have been involved in, if they still think about their integrity,” he said. [BicolToday.com]