By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police failed to present three of its witnesses during the Court of Appeals hearing on September 7, 2011 on Jonas Burgos’s enforced disappearance.
“Just like what our lawyer told us, we were really not expecting that the CIDG witnesses would testify before the court. It is funny that they could not locate their own witnesses,” Mrs. Edita Burgos told Bulatlat.com.
Jonas Burgos was abducted on April 28, 2007 while eating in a restaurant in Ever Gotesco Mall in Quezon City. His family, friends and comrades continue to search for him to this day. While there are evidences and eyewitness accounts pointing to the 56th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the CIDG, in its report in 2007, said the abduction was perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines.
To support the claim, the CIDG presented three witnesses namely, Marlon Manuel, Melissa Reyes and Emerito Lipio, who claim to be former members of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the CPP. The three witnesses said Ka Ramon, who, according to them, is the young Burgos, is a member of the communist movement and that it is the reason behind his disappearance. The Department of Justice had already dismissed this version of Jonas’s abduction.
The Court of Appeals issued a subpoena through the CIDG to produce the three witnesses to testify on September 7 in response to the criminal case filed by Mrs. Burgos. The criminal case is in accordance with the recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights, after the Supreme Court ordered for the re-investigation of Burgos’s disappearance, citing “serious lapses” in the initial investigations of the authority.
But the CIDG, on September 7, failed to produce their three witnesses, saying in their letter that they could not locate them.
“When one does not have the will, surely, they would not be able to find the three,” Mrs. Burgos told Bulatlat.com, “How come the CHR was able to find them (during their reinvestigation?”
In his testimony before the CA, Mrs. Burgos related, CHR commissioner Manuel Mamauag said they were able to locate or at least found the kin of the three witnesses using the CIDG’s information on their whereabouts. They were able to speak to Reyes in person, while they were able to talk to the wife and mother of Lipio and Manuel, respectively.
JL Burgos, brother of Jonas, said the accounts of the three CIDG witnesses would be essential in proving that there has been a cover-up during the initial investigation by the authorities. “We feel that they know something about the abduction. And we were hoping that they could divulge more information that could help us (locate Jonas).”
“This is ironic and funny that they could not find their own witnesses when the CHR was able to do so using the very own information that the CIDG handed to them,” Mrs. Burgos added. “If they will not show up, they are definitely hiding something.”