MANILA – Two Armed Forces Generals separately implicated in the enforced disappearance of farmer-activist Jonas Burgos and the arrests of the so-called Morong 43 have been confirmed for promotion to a higher rank by the influential Commission on Appointments (CA).
Major General Aurelio Baladad, who was previously commanding officer of the Army Brigade when the arrest was made against the Morong 43, was promoted to his current rank in November 2013.
The confirmation came even after CA member Rep. Rufus Rodriguez noted during the hearing that Baladad has three pending cases -- one before the Ombudsman, the second in Commission on Human Rights, and another one in Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, the current chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was also confirmed by the CA. Año was promoted in September 2013.
Another CA member, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, said the confirmations were made because the cases against both Año and Baladad were deemed too weak to be considered as an objection.
"Na-resolve na yung mga oppositions na yan, in fact hindi na nga umattend yung mga oppositors" Trillanes said. “To subject them again to those cases would be unfair.”
The CA noted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has already cleared Año in the arbitrary detention, obstruction of justice and murder case filed by Editha Burgos, the mother of Jonas. Año was then with the Army's intelligence unit.
The committee has deferred Año's confirmation twice because of the objection of Mrs. Burgos.
Trillanes also said that there is nothing unusual with the promotions of the generals, which just took a couple of months.
"Wala namang unusual dyan, pag general mabilis ang turn over marami kasi ang nagreretire,” he said.
Aside from Año and Baladad, 16 other high ranking officers were confirmed, namely: Bayani Gaerlan to the grade of Commodore; Edmundo Pangilinan to the grade of Brig. Gen.; Roger Salvador to the grade of Brig. Gen.; Gregorio Catapang Jr. to the grade of Lt. Gen.; Jose Renan Suarez to the grade of Rear Admiral; Jet Velarmino to the grade of Maj. General; Virgilio Hernandez to the grade of Maj. Gen.; Gerardo Barrientos Jr. to the grade of Brig. Gen.; Vic Castro to the grade of Brig. Gen.; Raul Ubando to the grade of Commodore; Manuel Gonzales to the grade of Brig. Gen.; Alex Capina to the grade of Brig. Gen.; Hilario Frigillana to the grade of Colonel; Patrick De Leon to the grade of Colonel; Caesar Tacad to the grade of Rear Admiral; and Ricardo Jalad to the grade of Brig. Gen.