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Metro

Court of Appeals orders PNP chief to testify in Burgos case

- Edu Punay -

MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked the bid of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome to skip hearings on the habeas corpus case involving the alleged abduction in 2007 of Jonas Burgos, political activist and the son of the late press freedom fighter Joe Burgos.

In a four-page resolution, the CA Special Former Seventh Division ordered Bartolome and Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr., who heads the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, to testify “and bring all relevant documents” for today’s hearing “and subsequent hearings as may be deemed necessary.”

The CA junked the urgent motion filed by Bartolome and Pagdilao, who said they have no personal knowledge of the case and were not occupying their current positions when Burgos disappeared in 2007. However, the CA said “the PNP has continuing obligation, not only to the Supreme Court but also to this Court, to comply with our directives.”

In July 2008, the CA’s division dismissed the petition of Jonas’ mother, Edita, for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus and the writ of amparo, which are extraordinary judicial orders meant to protect victims of human rights abuses.

Edita then elevated the matter to the Supreme Court, which ordered the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to look into Burgos’ disappearance and determine who should be held liable for his abduction.

The case was revived after the CHR submitted to the SC last March its report naming Maj. Harry Baliaga Jr. as Burgos’ principal abductor. The CHR also said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has to answer for Burgos’ abduction.

Acting on the CHR’s report, the Supreme Court ordered the military to produce Burgos even as the AFP has repeatedly denied that the missing activist is in its custody.

The SC also ordered the CA division to revive the habeas corpus case that the division dismissed in July 2008.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

BARTOLOME AND DIRECTOR SAMUEL PAGDILAO JR.

BARTOLOME AND PAGDILAO

BURGOS

COURT OF APPEALS

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND DETECTION GROUP

DIRECTOR GENERAL NICANOR BARTOLOME

EDITA

HARRY BALIAGA JR.

HUMAN RIGHTS

SUPREME COURT

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