Court Decision on Jonas Case ‘Anti-Victim’ – Rights Group

July 22, 2008- 2:58 p.m.

The human rights group Karapatan criticized the Court of Appeals for junking the petitions for the writ of habeas corpus and for writ of amparo of Mrs. Edith Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos.

Jonas was abducted by unidentified men in broad daylight at 12 noon at the crowded Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue on April 28, 2007.

In a statement, Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan secretary general, called the decision as “anti-victim.” She said, “CA justices are trying to be on the safe side at the expense of the life of Jonas; their dismissal of the case won’t help find him.” The group finds incredulous the CA’s conclusion that there was no evidence linking the military to Jonas’ abduction. It said that so much evidence have been provided by the petitioners and state security forces incriminated themselves by claiming Jonas to be a rebel.

Karapatan noted, “Since last year, many of the members of the CA had not successfully tried cases of human rights violations and had been remiss in giving remedy to victims seeking redress.”

The CA also rejected the habeas corpus petition for University of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan. The CA said there is no proof that the military has the missing women in their custody.

Enriquez said that if the judges continue to act and decide this way, “all remedies resorted to by the Supreme Court will be made inutile and unavailing to the victims and their families. Worse, this will breed more impunity,” said Enriquez.

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