Rights group hits DOJ resolution on Jonas Burgos criminal raps

Karapatan today assailed the Department of Justice on its resolution to drop from the list of respondents Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon Jr. on the criminal charges of arbitrary detention, murder and obstruction of justice filed by Dr. Edita Burgos on the abduction and disappearance of her son Jonas. The resolution which was reviewed and penned by Assistant Prosecutor Gerard Gaerlan, and approved by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, only recommended for the filing of charges in Court against Major Harry Baliaga Jr.

The resolution, released on September 3, also dismissed charges of murder and obstruction of justice against all respondents.

The criminal case of arbitrary detention was filed against Baliaga, Feliciano and Año in June 2011. The initial resolution of the Assistant State Prosecutor George Yarte, who conducted the preliminary investigation, found probable cause to charge in court Baliaga, Feliciano, Año and three John Does and one Jane Doe with the said crimes.

Año was the head of the operating arm of the intelligence group of the Philippine Army when the abduction happened.

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said, that “while the DOJ found probable cause for the charges against foot soldiers like Major Harry Baliaga Jr., it has exonerated the military brains behind the abduction and disappearance of Jonas by finding no cause to charge Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon Jr.”###