July 31, 2008
DR. EDITA BURGOS FILES PETITION TO REVIEW
CA RULING CLEARING AFP ON JONAS’ ABDUCTION
Dr. Edita Burgos, mother of abducted Jonas Burgos and wife of the late press freedom icon Jose Burgos, has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse the ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) that absolved the military of any involvement in the abduction of son on April 28, 2007 at the Ever Gotesco Mall in Quezon City.
Burgos filed 60-page petition for certiorari with the High Tribunal and sought to overturn the CA decision, which found no direct evidence to hold officers of the 56th Infantry Battalion and elements of the Intelligence and Security Group (ISG) of the Philippine Army (PA) to the disappearance of Jonas Burgos.
The petition asserted that the CA erred in issuing its July 14, 2008 ruling since a wealth of circumstantial, physical and documentary evidence showed that Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano and other members of the 56th Infantry Battalion had the motive to abduct Burgos, who was confirmed by no less than retired AFP chief of staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. as known in the Order of Battle (OB) as “Ka Ramon” and suspected to be the chief of intelligence of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Bulacan.
His abduction was related to the arrest of Lt. Dick Abletes of the same battalion, whom Feliciano confirmed was apprehended for passing information to the NPA based on a video showing him talking with two alleged guerrillas in Bulacan.
Burgos said Abletes was arrested in March 23, 2007. The meeting in Ever Gotesco was set up and hatched by the 56th Infantry Battalion and ISG to “neutralize” Jonas, she added in her petition.
The use of a license plate, TBA-194, taken from the Toyota Revo in the custody of the 56th Infantry Battalion, and attached to a vehicle used in the abduction of the young Burgos provides another physical evidence of the role played by the military.
Burgos stressed that the military had the resources, intelligence information and the resolve to mount the abduction, noting that Feliciano was responsible for the arrest of Abletes with the help of the ISG and he had everything to gain by luring suspected NPA guerrillas to a trap in order to eliminate what he claimed was the “infiltration” of his battalion.
She asked the SC to void the CA ruling and declare the return of the writs as false and hold Esperon, former Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Maj. Gen. Juanito Gomez, Maj. Gen. Delfin Bangit, formerly of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), Lt. Col. Noel Clement, former PNP Director General Oscar Calderon, AFP chief Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and PNP chief Director General Avelino Razon Jr. in contempt.
Burgos stressed that Razon stopped the investigation and later followed the AFP theory of the case and noted that the PNP chief was a batchmate of the other respondents, being members of Class 1974 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
She slammed the conspiracy of silence and obfuscation employed by the respondents and charged that the CA erred in not examining the circumstances thoroughly when it absolved the military and police officers of a false return of the writ and failing to take into consideration the testimonial evidence of Melissa Concepcion Reyes, Emerito Lipio and Marlon Manuel, all supposed rebel returnees who confirmed that “Ka Mon,” a military target in the Order of Battle, was Jonas Burgos.
Burgos likewise scored the failure of Razon to pursue the investigation and for taking the military line that the NPA was involved in the abduction of Burgos when witnesses had affirmed the vehicles used in the kidnapping ended up in Fort Bonifacio.
She stressed that she and her relatives and Jonas’ friends and associates remain undaunted in their search for him.
The wealth of circumstantial evidence and the documents that proved that the military had “neutralized” Jonas and bits of information from the military itself are indicative of the participation of military elements in the operation to abduct my son, she stressed.
This CA ruling serves to dampen the quest for justice by the relatives and friends of enforced disappearances, Burgos lamented.