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AFP welcomes decision to clear officers in Burgos case

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it respects the decision of the Justice department to clear active and retired military officials in the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos.

The military, nevertheless, remains open to helping authorities handling the case.

“The AFP fully trusts our justice system. We respect the decision of the Department of Justice to drop the charges,” AFP public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said in an interview Monday.

“Rest assured that we will continue to monitor the developments of the case and we will remain open (should) the higher civilian authority requires our cooperation and service,” he added.

Zagala said the military understands that the steps undertaken by any judicial or investigating body are provided for under the constitution it has sworn to protect.

“We continue to be one with our people in the quest for truth and justice with hopes of finding the real perpetrators behind the Jonas Burgos case,” he said.

Earlier, the Justice department cleared active and former military and police officials tagged in the disappearance of Burgos in 2007.

The charges of arbitrary detention were dismissed due to lack of probable cause.

Cleared were former AFP chief Hermogenes Esperon, former Army chief Romeo Tolentino, retired general Alexander Yano and former Philippine National Police chief Avelino Razon. Also cleared were Colonels Melquiades Feliciano and Eduardo Año.

The complaint was filed in 2011 by Edita Burgos, mother of Jonas.

State prosecutors, however, found amble evidence against Army Maj. Harry Baliaga Jr. after conducting a preliminary investigation.

The Justice department also dismissed the murder raps against Baliaga and other respondents, saying that the complainant had failed to prove the death of Burgos, who is still missing.

Burgos was reportedly kidnapped by armed men in 2007 and was dragged to a Toyota Revo van whose license plates were traced to another vehicle earlier impounded by the military in Bulacan.

 

ALEXANDER YANO

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

ARMY MAJ

AVELINO RAZON

BURGOS

COLONELS MELQUIADES FELICIANO AND EDUARDO A

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

EDITA BURGOS

HARRY BALIAGA JR.

HERMOGENES ESPERON

JONAS BURGOS

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