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AFP ready to arrest officer in Burgos case

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The military is ready to enforce the arrest warrant against Maj. Harry Baliaga, who was implicated in the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos.

Military officials said they have yet to receive a copy of the warrant but expressed readiness to comply with the orders of the court

“We would like to assure you that once we receive a copy of the warrant, we will effect the arrest. We respect the judicial process,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala told reporters Wednesday.

Zagala said the arrest warrant would provide the opportunity for Baliaga to disprove the charges against him and for the prosecution to prove their case.

“What is important for the AFP is that no one is above the law,” he said.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said Baliaga is currently assigned at the Army Headquarters and Headquarters Support Group.

“As to the commitment of Maj. Baliaga, we have yet to know as to whether the said warrant of arrest is bailable or non-bailable,” Cabangbang said.

Last month, a Quezon City court issued a warrant of arrest against Baliaga in connection with the disappearance of Burgos, who has been missing since 2007. 

The court issued the warrant after finding probable cause to place the military official under custody.

Burgos was reportedly abducted by armed men in a mall in Quezon City on April 28, 2007. He was said to be dragged to a Toyota Revo van whose license plates were traced to another vehicle earlier impounded by the military in Bulacan.

State prosecutors said Baliaga had been positively identified by a witness as among those who abducted Burgos at a restaurant in Quezon City. They have recommended the filing of arbitrary detention charges against the Army major and four others. 
                   
Burgos’ mother Edita had filed charges with the Justice department against several military and police officials in relation to the alleged enforced disappearance of her son.

Accused of obstruction of justice were Baliaga, former AFP chief Hermogenes Esperon, former Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, retired Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Avelino Razon.

Other respondents were Col. Melquiades Feliciano and then Col. Eduardo Año, now the chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The complaints against the other security officials were dismissed after state prosecutors did not find probable cause to file charges against them. – Alexis Romero


 

ALEXANDER YANO

ALEXIS ROMERO

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

ARMY HEADQUARTERS AND HEADQUARTERS SUPPORT GROUP

AVELINO RAZON

BALIAGA

BURGOS

EDUARDO A

QUEZON CITY

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