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AFP insists Jonas Burgos not with them

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:27:00 04/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday maintained that it was not involved in the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos, exactly one year after the son of the late press freedom icon Jose “Joe” Burgos Jr. went missing.

“We have been saying or stating even before that Jonas Burgos is not under the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” AFP spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro told reporters.

Burgos’ mother, Edita, is holding troops from the 56th Infantry Battalion based in Bulacan province responsible for her son’s disappearance. This after the license plate on the vehicle of his alleged abductors was traced to an impounded vehicle at the battalion’s headquarters in Norzagaray town.

On April 28, 2007, “military-looking” men allegedly took Burgos while he was eating at a fastfood outlet in a Quezon City mall. An agriculturist by profession, Burgos was working as a consultant for the left-wing Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), when he was abducted.

Bacarro said the military would continue cooperating in hearings at the Court of Appeals on a petition for habeas corpus filed by Burgos’ mother.

“We have military officers that are scheduled to appear, they will attend the court hearings…Let’s wait for a resolution through the legal processes,” Bacarro said.

The former commanding general of the Philippine Army, retired lieutenant general Romeo Tolentino, testified in a recent hearing. The license plate on a back-up vehicle used by Burgos’ alleged abductors was traced to a staff car detailed to Tolentino’s office.

In an interview with reporters in July 2007, Tolentino said Burgos could be a member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), though he could not say whether his affiliation was a factor in his disappearance.

Bacarro could not confirm if a military investigation on the Burgos case has produced results.

“That’s very operational. I’m not privy to the developments. [The inquiry is] in the field of intelligence, I’m not privy to any information,” he said.

When pressed by reporters, Bacarro said the Jonas case was being used by “some groups” to link the military to extrajudicial killings and disappearances of left-wing activists.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-04-28T08:56:22+00:00UTC04bUTCMon, 28 Apr 2008 08:56:22 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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