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Rights lawyers on the Department of Justice (DOJ) Resolution absolving high-ranking military and police officials for the disappearance of Jonas Burgos and the confirmation of Gen. Ano to star rank

Utterly disappointing.   Despite the direct and  strong circumstantial evidence abundant on the records, the (September  3) DOJ Resolution (received  September  9) just perfunctorily and  in a formulaic manner brushed aside the liability of toprank  military and  police officers for the arbitrary detention of farmer-activist Jonas Burgos.

The scant and  curt findings of the reassigned prosecutor does not only not conform with the facts and  the law but also clashes with reason and  common sense. How for the light of us can a lowly junior officer (now Major Harry Baliaga) perpetuate such ghastly operation without any one higher ordering, knowing, approving, acquiescing or  concealing it for the longest time?

In our Motion for Reconsideration (filed September 23) as lead private lawyers for this criminal case, we pointed out the lack of meticulous appreciation of the facts and  circumstances establishing all the respondents’ liability.  This does not give justice to the seriousness and  gravity of the offense that has turned out to be the litmus test for government’s purported vow to punish perpetrators.

The recent confirmation of Brig. Gen. Ano to star rank reminds us of the promotion of Gen. Palparan and  many others who had faced serious and  credible charges of rights violations. It is an open insult and mockery not only of Jonas and  his family but also the other hundreds of disappeared. We hope the government will not again sow what it reaps even as we shall persist to seek justice though the heavens fall.

Reference: Edre U. Olalia – Secretary General

NUPL ( lead counsel for the Burgos family in the criminal case)