QC court ac­quits sol­dier in Jonas Bur­gos abduction case

Cebu Daily News - - ISLANDS - /IN­QUIRER.NET

The Que­zon City Re­gional Trial Court (QCRTC) ac­quit­ted on Thursday a mil­i­tary of­fi­cial ac­cused of ab­duct­ing ac­tivist Jonas Bur­gos.

In a nine-page de­ci­sion, pre­sid­ing Judge Al­fonso C. Ruiz II of QCRTC Branch 216 ab­solved Philip­pine Army Ma­jor Harry Baliaga Jr., who was charged with ar­bi­trary de­ten­tion, as the pros­e­cu­tion failed to prove that he was the per­son be­hind the dis­ap­pear­ance of Bur­gos in 2007.

The court said the ev­i­dence pre­sented by the pros­e­cu­tion was based on hearsay and not on the wit­nesses’ per­sonal knowl­edge.

It also ruled that there was no suf­fi­cient cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence to prove the guilt of Baliaga, who is out on bail.

“The on ly cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence pre­sented by the pros­e­cu­tion was the dis­cov­ery that the ve­hi­cle, with plate no. TAB-194 was ear­lier ap­pre­hended and later im­pounded at the 5th In­fantry Bat­tal­ion lo­cated at San Ma­teo, Norza­garay, Bu­la­can, where the ac­cused, Harry Baliaga, Jr., was pre­vi­ously as­signed,” the de­ci­sion stated.

“Even if ad­mit­ted, how­ever, the cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence stand­ing alone will not reach the quan­tum of proof re­quired to over­come the con­sti­tu­tional pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence,” it added.

Bur­gos, an or­ganic farm­ing trainer, was last seen alive on April 28, 2007 when uniden­ti­fied men forcibly took him from in­side a mall in Que­zon City i nto a ve­hi­cle.

He was be­lieved to be ab­ducted by mem­bers of the mil­i­tary, as he was re­port­edly af­fil­i­ated with the Alyansang Mag­bubukid ng Bu­la­can, a lo­cal chap­ter of the mil­i­tant Kilu­sang Mag­bubukid ng Pilip­inas (KMP).

Bur­gos’ mother, Edita, said she­was­sad­dened­bythe­court’s de­ci­sion but main­tained that their fam­ily will con­tinue to search for jus­tice for his son, who re­mains miss­ing un­til now.

/IN­QUIRER PHOTO

Edita Bur­gos, the mother of the ab­ducted ac­tivist Jonas Bur­gos, is present in the pro­mul­ga­tion of her son’s case at the Que­zon City Re­gional Trial Court Branch 216.

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