Court absolves Major Harry Baliaga from Jonas Burgos abduction case
by UNTV News | Posted on Thursday, October 12th, 2017
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216 found that the prosecution in the Jonas Burgos case failed to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
This prompted the court to decide a “not guilty” verdict in favor of Major Harry Baliaga in connection with the arbitrary detention case filed against him seven years ago.
The prosecution indicted Baliaga, an officer of the Bravo Company of Philippine Army 56th Infantry Battalion, who was alleged as having the custody of the vehicle used in the abduction of Burgos.
The incident was reported to have happened on April 28, 2007 at a mall in Commonwealth Avenue.
The defendant’s camp had three witnesses but they were not able to present them in court.
“Iyong bus, boy umalis siya sa (The bus boy has left the) witness protection program and is nowhere to be found since then. Iyong isa naman may balak mag-abroad tapos di namin talaga ma-trace (The other one has plans of going abroad and we could no longer trace him). Tapos yung isa nga nasa (Another one joined the) military reportedly,” said National Union of People’s Lawyers president Atty. Edre Olalia.
Baliaga maintains he has nothing to do with the crime.
“Nabigla lang din ako noong naisama ako rito sa case na ito (I was also surprised when I was dragged into this case),” said the acquitted.
Major Baliaga said he is ready for his new assignment even if it is in Marawi City as he has been assigned for seven years at the AFP headquarters.
“Full duty nako (I’m on full duty). Wala na akong kaso (I don’t have a case anymore) so I’m looking forward to helping my organization,” said Baliaga.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Edita Burgos, the mother of the abducted activist said, the court’s decision will not stop them to find Jonas.
“This is a bad day. I feel so bad but we will find Jonas,” said Edita Burgos.
Among the respondents in the arbitrary detention case filed in DOJ was AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año who was then the chief of the Army Intelligence Service Group as well as national security adviser Hermogene Esperon who was then the AFP chief of staff.
The two officers were not formally charged, though the Burgos camp filed a motion for reconsideration in 2013.
The AFP meanwhile said they respect the court’s decision and hope that the verdict will put to rest the issues that surround the case that hounded the parties since 2007.
“We respect the decision of the court acquitting Major Harry Baliaga. We submit to the wise discretion of the court in ascertaining the guilt or innocence of the accused charged before it in a deliberate and impartial proceedings,” said AFP Public Affairs Office chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo.
“We hope that this verdict of the court will put to rest the issues that surround case that hounded the parties since 2007,” he added. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue
FILE PHOTO: Former Armed Forces of the Philippiens (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año
MANILA, Philippines — Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año Thursday told newly installed Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde to prioritize the issue on unreleased subsistence allowance of Special Action Force (SAF) Troopers.
Año said the issue “will serve as litmus test on how he (Albayalde) will carry out the internal cleansing program within the police organization.”
Año was referring to the P59.8-M peso fund withheld from SAF troopers even after a portion of it had been released. Año believes the PNP should launch its own fact finding investigation on the matter.
Former SAF chief Director Benjamin Lusad and former SAF budget and fiscal officer Senior Superintendent Andre Dizon together with two SAF Finance personnel had been relieved of their posts and are now plunder and malversation charges over the fund mess. — UNTV News & Rescue
by UNTV News | Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018
MANILA, Philippines — Sixty-nine police officers will soon be relieved from the service due to various offenses ranging from illegal drugs to neglect of duty.
This was confirmed by Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa. Dela Rosa said that the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) is set to submit their recommendation including the names and the decision on the cases of the involved police to Malacañang.
The 69 policemen are with ranks of police officer 1 to police senior superintendent.
General dela Rosa assured that the cases of the police officers in question went through proper police procedures.
The police chief added that internal cleansing within their ranks will continue until the end of his term in April.
“Expect me to be consistent. I will walk the talk. I will do what I say. My number one priority internal cleansing. CITF will continue their work to run after the police scalawags,” said Dela Rosa.
He also confirmed that Department of Local and Government (DILG) OIC Eduardo Año vowed to help him bring back the good image of the Philippine National Police.
“Initially we already had a discussion, that he will help me improve the image of the PNP,” said the chief. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue
by UNTV News | Posted on Thursday, October 5th, 2017
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will share the USD 22-million worth of firearms and ammunition donated by the Chinese government.
This is China’s second donation of military equipment to the AFP.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año said, 90 sets of sniper scope will go the soldiers battling terrorists in Marawi City while the guns and ammunition will go to the police for their special forces.
“For now, the PNP needs additional firearms, so we have to help the PNP so that they can do their job. They lack long firearms,” said Año.
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Chinese donation is part of the friendship and cooperation between Beijing and Malacañang in terms of fighting terrorism.
“I want to thank China for its technical assistance in our anti-terrorism operations in Marawi City, this has been vital in winning the battle against extremist,” said Lorenzana.
Thirty-five sets of engineering equipment are also set to arrive before the end of the year. These sets of equipment, the Philippine authorities said, is for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said China is in full support of the Philippines’ fight against the ISIS-inspired group Maute and illegal drugs.
The Chinese ambassador noted that Beijing has already donated an estimated of 5.5 billion pesos worth of humanitarian assistance and disaster reduction and military equipment to the Philippines.
“Let me assure you that China will provide additional grants and assistance to the Philippines. We would like to be your partner in a rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city of Marawi,” said the Chinese ambassador.
Jianhua explained that the donations will not push through if not for the efforts of President Rodrigo Duterte to repair the relationship of Manila with Beijing. It can be noted the two countries were at odds over the South China Sea during the term of Mr. Duterte’s predecessor.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed, China would like to be a friend in need so we cherish the friendship that rekindled by President Duterte,” said Jianhua. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue
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