Five years have passed since activist Jonas Burgos was abducted in a Quezon City mall. Jonas is still missing and authorities seem to take its time in pursuing leads to resolve his case.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is now being pushed to move on Jonas’ case as the Supreme Court issues a resolution directing the agency to secure a copy of a sworn affidavit of one of the witnesses who has admitted to knowing the identity of one of Jonas’ abductors. The court noted in an en banc resolution the statement of Virgilio Eustaquio saying that he could identify one of the armed men who took Jonas from the Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in 2007. Eustaquio belongs to Erap 5, a group of former president Joseph Estrada’s supporters who were allegedly forcibly taken, detained, and tortured by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). According to him, one of the soldiers who took Jonas is the same one who took him and the rest of the Erap 5.
The SC resolution dated October 11 orders the CHR to “undertake all available measures to obtain the affidavit” of Eustaquio. Once obtained, the CHR is to furnish the Burgos family, the Court of Appeals, and both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) with a copy of the affidavit. CHR is also given 30 days within which to submit to the high court a report and a set of recommendations pertaining to their on-going investigation of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance. It will be recalled that the SC has found that “the investigations by the PNP-CIDG, the AFP Provost Marshal, and even the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) have been less than complete.” The SC resolved in its July 5, 2011 en banc session that Lt. Harry A Baliaga Jr. and Philippine Army officers to produce the person of Jonas Burgos and to show cause why he should continue to be detained.
Cases like this that drag on for years do not speak well of the justice system in the country. Yet again, here is an example of human rights victims and their families continuously being made to suffer even more while those who are responsible for their suffering live their lives undisturbed while the wheels of justice give an illusion of being in motion. (from Noypi.Ph, By Elmira Joson-Rivera 10/27/2011) #