'Brains' behind Burgos abduction absolved: HR group
MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) drew flak from a human rights group following the release of its resolution that drops high-ranking military officers from the list of respondents in the disappearance of farmer-activist Jonas Joseph Burgos.
According to Karapatan, the resolution released on September 3, 2013, drops from the respondents' list the names of Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon Jr. on the criminal charges of arbitrary detention, murder and obstruction of justice filed by Dr. Edita Burgos on the abduction and disappearance of her son.
The resolution was reviewed and penned by Assistant Prosecutor Gerard Gaerlan and approved by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.
The group added that the resolution only recommended the filing of charges in court against Major Harry Baliaga Jr., who was identified by witnesses as among those who abducted Jonas on April 28, 2007 while he was inside a mall in Quezon City.
"While the DOJ found probable cause for the charges against foot soldiers like Major Harry Baliaga Jr., it has exonerated the military brains behind the abduction and disappearance of Jonas by finding no cause to charge Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon Jr.," said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.
The group also raised its eyebrows on the timing of the release of the resolution.
"The timing of the release of the DOJ resolution absolving Año, Feliciano and other high military and police officials was conspicuous--one day before Año faced the Commission on Appointments (CA) for the confirmation of his promotion to the rank of brigadier general. The DOJ resolution and the appointment of Año as head of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) are very clear manifestations that the Aquino administration coddles military generals who have blood in their hands," Palabay said.