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De Lima orders NBI to obtain copies of new evidence in Jonas Burgos case

April 4, 2013 7:41pm

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, through the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), has requested copies of the new evidence expected to shed light on the allegedly military-perpetrated disappearance of political activist Jonas Burgos.

"I will be directing the NBI to officially request from Mrs. Burgos those documents and copies of those confidential documents purportedly presenting new evidence," said De Lima.

Armed with the new evidence that would supposedly pin the military in her son's disappearance, Edita Burgos went to the Supreme Court on Monday to ask the tribunal to order the Court of Appeals to reopen the case.

The new evidence included an "After Apprehension Report," a "Psycho Social Processing Report," and an "Autobiography of Jonas Burgos."

Mrs. Burgos said these documents were copies of confidential records on file with the Philippine Army.

Another new evidence was a photograph obtained by the family showing a disheveled Jonas, wearing a white shirt with a handkerchief wrapped around his neck and believed to have been used as a blindfold.

"I am sure Mrs. Burgos, as the most interested person, she's the petitioner, she's the mother who has been looking for her son, then she would cooperate with this probe as ordered by the President for himself," De Lima said.

De Lima said any name that would come up in those confidential documents would be included in the NBI investigation that she ordered as directed by President Benigno Aquino III.

Burgos, a political activist and son of the late press freedom fighter Jose Burgos, was abducted in a restaurant at the Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on April 28, 2007. The license plate number of the vehicle used in his abduction was traced to a vehicle impounded at the camp of the Army's 56th Infantry Battalion in Bulacan.

De Lima said apart from the evidence, the NBI special team would also be reviewing all available information and documents used in the respective investigations of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

"As we speak, nag-umpisa na ang NBI, nag-umpisa na sila sa document review, lahat ng document ay tinitignan nila kung saan may kulang, saan may gap and saan 'yung medyo kwestyonable na ebidensya," said De Lima, a former CHR head.

"We are looking forward to the new evidence,” she added. “'Yun ang gusto namin makita. We are very curious about it at kung makita namin doon dapat magfo-focus ang NBI."

De Lima refused to comment on whether she thinks there are indications that Burgos is still alive.

She stressed the importance of the NBI investigation in finally determining what happened to Burgos, noting that the cases filed with Supreme Court and Court of Appeals were merely for the issuance of a writ of amparo and do not touch on the criminal aspect of the case.

"Since it's a writ of amparo we cannot say na conclusive na 'yan kasi di pa kumpleto ang imbestigasyon," she said.

"Kaya nga kung mapapansin nyo sa dispositive portion ng CA position, the CA still directs the CHR, the AFP, and the PNP to continue with their investigation, to do an exhaustive investigation kasi ang ibig sabihin di pa kumpleto, di p alam ang buong storya, di p lam ang tunay na nangyari kay Jonas," De Lima added.

She was reffering to a recent Court of Appeals ruling that held the AFP and the PNP "accountable" for Burgos' disappearance. The court pointed to Maj. Harry A. Baliaga Jr., an Army First Lieutenant at the time of the incident, as being "responsible" for the disappearance. Baliaga belongs to the Bulacan-based 56th Infantry Battalion.

"I'm very optimistic about it. Malaki ang chance na malalaman natin ang tunay na nangyari kay Jonas. Sinu-sino, ang pwedeng managot," De Lima said.

According to De Lima, it was the first time that the NBI is getting into the picture of probing the incident since it happened six years ago. — KBK, GMA News 
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