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Group urges AFP official in Burgos case to tell all

Dennis Carcamo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The group Families of Desaparecidos for Justice on Tuesday trooped to the Quezon City Hall of Justice for the arraignment of the case against Maj. Harry Baliaga, one of the accused in the abduction and disappearance of agriculturist Jonas Burgos.

Maj. Baliaga is the lone soldier charged with arbitrary detention in connection with Burgos' disappearance in 2007.

"We again call on Maj. Harry Baliaga to bare all that he knows about Jonas’s abduction and disappearance," said Lorena Santos, secretary-general of Desaparecidos. "We remind Maj. Baliaga that he faces a graver offense and punishment under the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act 2012."

The group also reiterated its call to charge, arrest and punish Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, who had been cleared from the charges. Año had recently been promoted as the military's intelligence chief.

Año and the others who were originally charged, saying “high military officers used Baliaga to escape prosecution.”

"While we grieve for the lives lost brought by typhoon Yolanda, we cannot let this day pass without protesting how the government condones acts of people like Ano and Baliaga," Santos said.

Meanwhile, the Desaparecidos challenged the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to comply with the recent decision of the Supreme Court on the Writ of Amparo petition for the disappearance of another activist James Balao.

The high court ordered the heads of the AFP and the Philippine National Police to "directly and personally" locate Balao.

Balao, an indigenous people's right advocate, disappeared in September 2008.

"The military will again make up countless excuses to cover up their sins and escape prosecution," Santos said.

"This case will again turn out to be just like the case of two missing University of the Philippine students where the military kept on postponing court hearings even as retired Gen. Jovito Palparan remains free," Santos said.

Palparan, now in hiding, is facing serious illegal detention and kidnapping charges in connection with the disappearance of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in November 2006.

ANO AND BALIAGA

ANTI-ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE ACT

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

BALIAGA

DESAPARECIDOS

EDUARDO A

FAMILIES OF DESAPARECIDOS

HARRY BALIAGA

MAJ

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