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MANILA, Philippines -- The Court of Appeals (CA) has dropped the name of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as respondent in the case of the disappearance of political activist Jonas Joseph Burgos, in compliance with a Supreme Court order.
In a resolution of the CA's Special Former Seventh Division, the CA issued a writ of habeas corpus returnable to the presiding justice "who shall immediately refer the writ to the same division that decided the petition."
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente and was concurred by Associate Justice Remedios Salazar-Fernando and then Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes.
Reyes was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III last Friday as SC Associate Justice.
Earlier, the SC dropped Arroyo as party respondent during her incumbency as President of the Republic.
The CA referred witnesses Jeffrey Cabintoy and Elsa Agasang to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for admission to the Witness Protection Program Security and Benefits Program (WPPSBP), subject to the requirements of Republic Act 6981.
It noted the criminal complaint filed by Edita Burgos, Jonas' mother, with the DOJ which said it "may investigate and act upon on its own pursuant to Section 21 of the Rule of the writ of amparo."
The CA impleaded Lt. Harry Bariaga Jr. in two separate cases, together with the incumbent chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); the incumbent commanding general of the Philippine Army; and the commanding officer, Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, of the Army's 56th IB, 7th Infantry Division, at the time of Burgos' disappearance.
They were also required by the CA to produce the person of Burgos "under the terms the CA shall prescribe, and to show cause why the victim should not be released from detention."
The CA resolution also required "AFP Judge Advocate General Brig. Gen. Gilberto Jose Roa; the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, JI, AFP, at the time of our June 22, 2010 resolution; and then Chief of Staff and now Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner retired AFP Gen. Ricardo David, (a) to explain show cause and explain this court, within a non-extendible period of fifteen (15) days from receipt…why they should not be held in contempt…for their defiance…"
The SC had ordered the AFP to produce Burgos before the court in view of the report from the CHR dated March 25, 2011.
The report said that it has "graphic descriptions of eyewitnesses to the abduction, relevant testimonies of the witnesses, evidentiary difficulties such as the deliberate refusal of police and military officials to furnish relevant documents and facts that the military has something to do with the disappearance."
Based on the CHR report, Bariaga was identified as one of those who abducted Burgos in Quezon City on April 28, 2007.
The CA denied the petition for habeas corpus and the writ of amparo filed by Mrs. Burgos in 2008.
It said that it had not enough evidence to prove the involvement of the military in the abduction and disappearance of Edita's son.
In its order, the CA ordered the AFP to submit before the court, within a non-extendible period of 15 days from receipt, a copy of the documents requested by the CHR, particularly:
-- The profile and summary of information and pictures of T/ Sgt. Jason Roxas (Philippine Army); Cpl. Maria Joana Francisco (Philippine Air Force); M/ Sgt. Aron Arroyo (PAF); an alias T.L.—all reportedly assigned with Military Intelligence Group of Intelligence Service of the AFP—and 2Lt. Fernando, a lady officer involved in the counter-insurgency operations of the 56th IB in 2006 to 2007;
-- Copies of the records of the 2007 incident in Kamuning, Quezon City and the complete list of the intelligence operatives involved in that said convert military operation, including their respective summary of information and individual pictures; and
-- Complete list of the officers, women and men assigned at the 56th and 69thInfantry Battalion and the 7th IB from Jan. 1, 2004-June 30, 2007 with their respective profiles, summary of information and pictures; including the list of captured rebels and rebels who surrendered to the said camps and their corresponding pictures and copies of their Tactical Interrogation Reports and the cases filed against them, if any.
The CA further noted that "these documents shall be released exclusively to this court for our examination to determine their relevance to the present case and the advisability of their public disclosure."