Desaparecidos slams Año appointment as AFP chief of staff

An organization of families of the disappeared expressed disgust over the recent appointment of Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, calling it “a clear manifestation of impunity, when human rights violators escape prosecution and are instead rewarded for their crimes against the Filipino people.”
Lorena Santos, Secretary General of Desaparecidos, said “There is no word to accurately capture this feeling of indignation. What does this tell us of this system? This fascist state continues to hail mercenaries, while Jonas and all victims of enforced disappearance have yet to be surfaced,’ said Lorena Santos, secretary general of Families of the Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos).

In 2007, peasant organizer Jonas Burgos was abducted and disappeared by elements of the military under Año’s command. Año was among those charged in the criminal complaint on the arbitrary detention of Jonas filed by Mrs. Editha Burgos, mother of Jonas and National Board member of Desaparecidos, in June 9, 2011. 

On September 6, 2013, under former Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s Department of Justice, Año was absolved from the charges, when the DOJ dropped his name from among those they recommended to court for the said criminal charges. On February 19, 2014, Año’s promotion to Lieutenant General was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, despite opposition from the Burgos family.

Desaparecidos called Año as a Palparan protégé, in reference to retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, who was responsible for the disappearance of farmer Manuel Merino, UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, and many other activists and farmers. 

“We call on President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider Año’s appointment as AFP Chief of Staff, lest he wants to be written down in history as a coddler of butchers,” Santos said. 
“To desaparecidos and their kin seeking redress for the violations done against them, this is a farce, another poetic injustice, days before the commemoration of Human Rights Day, that rubs salt to an open and excruciating wound,” Santos concluded. ###