SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
In an article for the Philippine Daily Inquirer TJ Burgonio writes about the disappointment of Edita Burgos, whose son (a peasant organizer) was abducted by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) back in 2007, over the promotion of a key player in her son’s abduction:
After President Aquino approved the promotion and appointment of the chief of the country’s top military spy agency, the mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos said she had lost hope that the human rights situation would improve.
Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, who is facing charges over Burgos’ abduction, along with 45 other military officials, took his oath of office before the President as head of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp) in Malacañang on Monday.
At the time of the Burgos abduction, Año was head of the operating arm of the intelligence group of the Philippine Army. Last year, Edita Burgos filed a complaint in the Department of Justice against Año, then a colonel, and other officers in connection with the abduction of her son. As of last month, the case was still under preliminary investigation, according to Edita.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin was among those present during the ceremony.
“Before, I clung to little hope that the human rights situation would improve. The President was really busy, and that in time they would look at the cases of victims of enforced disappearances. With that development, I don’t think that will ever happen,” Edita Burgos said on the phone.
“I don’t think the human rights situation will improve while he’s President,” she added.
By approving Año’s promotion and new designation, Mr. Aquino was relaying the message to the military “to continue with the abuses,” Burgos said.
Burgos said the least that the President could have done was wait for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to complete the preliminary investigation of the case.
“I felt weak upon learning that somebody who is a respondent in my case was appointed and promoted,” she said.
“Of course, I don’t expect the President to know all the cases against different military agents. I’m sure he’s aware of the case of Jonas,” she said.
The militant human rights group Karapatan condemned the promotion of Año.
“By promoting Brigadier General Año to Isafp chief, Aquino practically absolves him of his responsibility in the abduction and disappearance of Jonas Burgos, and his role in terrorizing communities in Quezon province this year,” said the group’s secretary general, Cristina Palabay.