MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to produce the person of missing political activist Jonas Burgos, abducted from a Quezon City mall in 2007.
The high court issued another writ of habeas corpus returnable to the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals(CA), which also directed the military to show cause why Burgos should not be released from detention.
The high court said the ruling "was based on the evidence contained in the Investigation Report submitted by the Commission on Human Rights(CHR) on March 15, 2011," in compliance with a resolution of the SC last June 22 which referred the consolidated petitions of Burgos' mother, Edita, for habeas corpus, writ of amparo and contempt.
In a 25-page En Banc resolution penned by Associate Justice Arturo Brion, the high tribunal directed CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes, Jr. to refer the writ of habeas corpus to the same CA Division that dismissed the earlier petition for the issuance of the writ.
The high court said the Division must render a new decision within 30 days after the case is submitted for decision.
The high court ordered Lt. Harry Baliaga Jr of the 56th Infantry Battation(IB), 7th Infantry Division(ID), Philippine Army(PA), to be impleaded in the habeas corpus case.
Baliaga was identified in the CHR report as among those who abducted Burgos.
Apart from Baliaga, the following were also ordered impleaded in the habeas corpus case: the AFP chief of staff, the Commanding General of the PA, and the Commanding Officer of the 56th IB, 7th ID, PA at the time of Burgos' disappearance.
Baliaga and other respondents were ordered to file their comments on the CHR report within a non-extendible period of 15 days.
GMA dropped as respondent
The resolution ordered the dropping of former President now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as respondent; the chief of staff of the AFP and the Commanding General of the PA were ordered impleaded as parties.
The high court meantime required former AFP chief of staff Gen. Ricardo David, the deputy chief of staff at the time of the June 22 resolution of the court, and General Roa of the Judge Advocate General's Office(JAGO) to show cause within a non-extendible period of 15days why they should not be held in contempt for defying the June 22 resolution and "refusing to provide the CHR copies of relevant documents, and submit to the SC a copy of the documents previously requested by the CHR, which includes profiles and summaries of information and pictures of several Philippine Army officers alleged to be involved in the Burgos abduction."
Said documents, the high tribunal said, will be subject to the exclusive examination of the court.