Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FJBM reaction to the SC ruling

This is an atrocity against our family and against our people’s right to seek swift justice.

After three years of my son’s disappearance, and after a previous Supreme Court decision on July 16, 2007 granting our petition for habeas corpus, the same Supreme Court, in classic Pontius Pilate style, has now passed the case back on to the Commission on Human Rights for a “more meaningful investigation.”

We are, therefore, back to square one more than three years after the military and the police abducted my son. This, in spite of a writ of amparo we were granted by the appellate court in December 2007.

This is blatantly a whitewash disguised as judicial hogwash. The writ of amparo, much-trumpeted by the Supreme Court, has become merely a tool of the courts to further obfuscate and muddle the issue.

Citing “significant lapses” in the official investigation conducted by the PNP and AFP . Justice delayed is justice denied. But the Supreme Court seems not to be on the side of truth and justice but wallows in indecision and official deniability.

Despite the slow pace in the case, my family continued to respect the process even if we already felt that there was a cover-up in the abduction of my son by no less than our Iaw enforcers.

Now, do we have to pray again for the CHR to live up to this challenge of another investigation? But we have a CHR chair who is about to leave her post to assume a Cabinet position. Do we appeal to her to “please finish your investigation before you take on another sensitive post in government” this time?

I have consulted my lawyer Atty. Ricardo Fernandez, and he too was surprised that with the voluminous documents that were forwarded to the courts, the SC will now say that the Armed Forces of the Philippine and the Philippine National Police should make available to CHR pertinent documents and records. He wonders why the high court is again ordering a full probe of the case by the Commission on Human Rights when Jonas’s case had supposedly been previously investigated by the police, the military, the Justice Department and even the CHR.

Obviously the Supreme Court is washing its hands over the alleged cover up of the investigation. It did not even give a hint on whether or not the military officers and personnel that we have linked to the disappearance are guilty or not.

In the meantime, we are forced to continue searching for my missing son.

I believe that he is still alive, and his military captors must surface him. If he is dead, they must show me his body, and justice must prevail.

Edita Burgos' letter to the Supreme Court

June 23, 2010


Your Honors:

On the eve of the feast of St. John the Baptist, whose head literally rolled because he was a man of truth and stood in witness of it. I feel that the same thing that happened to the prophet, St. John, is happening to me. I write to you since I feel that this is only option I have for the High Court to listen again to my plea. Please bear with this mother who, in her desperate search for her son, has questions that you alone can answer.

I have read from the news reports that you have finally decided on our Petition, re: the Jonas Case. I cannot understand how your honors arrived at this decision and so I beg you to answer this mother’s questions.

We have prayed and waited for almost two years, and all we got was an instruction from our revered magistrates for the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the case extensively. Did it have to take so long for the Supreme Court to find out that the investigators made serious lapses? We were required by the Court of Appeals to submit our response in five days after it penned its resolution which we did but the Supreme Court took five weeks short of 2 years simply to say that it cannot rule on the case because there were lapses in the investigation?

We have been hoping that cases concerning petitions of the Writ of Amparo would be dealt with expeditiously by the courts considering the urgency of the matter. But today I can say with certainty that this is not so. It is a useless exercise. Do we really have to really add another 90 days for a case that you have been handling for almost two years? How can the eroded trust be restored? The better question is why should I even attempt to have this trust restored?

That the lapses were, in fact, efforts to cover up the identity of the perpetrators was what we consistently pointed out throughout the hearings. Now the Supreme Court agrees, yet why are the respondents not cited for contempt? Or instead, why was the commander-in-chief’s name dropped from the list of respondents?

We started our search for Jonas by seeking the help of the CHR where the investigation was unceremoniously closed when I was even unjustly accused of being ‘uncooperative’. We then sought the help of the Philippine National Police and then the Armed Forces of the Philippines . But we were just given a run around. And so we brought our case to the Department of Justice. And now you are asking us to go back to the CHR . Will this be a new start of going around in circles again? If the serious lapses were committed by the police, why are they not punished instead of passing on the burden to us, the victims, and to the CHR whose mandate to investigate is limited?

At the hearings names several cropped up. Names of people who could shed light in the abduction of Jonas and who can tell us where Jonas is.

Why has the DOJ not asked the CHR to investigate the case of 1st Lt. Dick Abletes, who may be undergoing court martial now, to shed light on the abduction of my son?

Why has the SC not asked that Col. Melquiades Feliciano, then commander of the 56th IB, be investigated thoroughly to find out if he was the one who implemented the order to abduct Jonas? And how about the intelligence officer of the 56th IB, Lt. Jaime Mendaros the author of the Order of Battle where Jonas’ name appeared?

Or why has the SC been silent on the participation of Gen Romeo Tolentino, then as chief of Army, in the abduction? Was he not the one who ordered the abduction of Jonas? And why has the SC not cited Romeo for contempt for lying in court?

Could the SC not just ask Col. Joel Napoleon Coronel, who at that time was the Chief Superintendent of the CIDG- PNP that started the investigation, on the results of his investigation? Or since the order to investigate thoroughly was given by the CA to the PNP and the AFP in its resolution last July, 2008 should not they be cited for contempt by the court for not following this order? For the failure of the police to do their job, why are we being punished?

Instead of rejoicing that the high court has finally acted on our case, I can only express my disappointment. It is very sad, indeed. Instead of ruling on our petition, the Supreme Court just passed on the burden to another institution . . . prolonging our agony, diminishing our chances of finding Jonas, and to make matters worse, putting the blame on us. Why is this so your honors?

The smallest ray of hope to find my son Jonas, pinned on the highest court of the land, but it has just been shattered. I hope that this is not an omen of things to come for all other cases of human rights violations.

Our search for the truth on what happened to Jonas will not end. We believe in a higher Court where justice will be obtained. It is this belief in the One Judge that strengthens our resolve to put our hope in Him who loves us. Even if this mother is at her weakest point, brought on by the decision of the Supreme Court, she boasts that He is strong in her.

With the answers to these questions, maybe the One Judge would look kindly on us who allow ourselves to be trapped by our humanity. Thank you.

Mother of Jonas Burgos