Rights Commission member identifies military officer in Burgos abduction

Army Major Harry Baliaga Jr. (Bulatlat file photo)
Army Major Harry Baliaga Jr. (Bulatlat file photo)

Lawyer Robinson Biñas of the government’s Commission on Human Rights said his investigating team interviewed some 15 witnesses, among them, busboy Jeffrey Cabintoy, who identified Major Harry Baliaga as one of the abductors.

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – A member of a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) team that investigated the the disappearance of farmer-activist Jonas Burgos took the witness stand at the Quezon City regional trial court hearing today, May 12.

Lawyer Robinson Biñas said the Supreme Court, in a 2010 decision, ordered the CHR investigation. He said the team interviewed some 15 witnesses, among them, busboy Jeffrey Cabintoy, who identified Major Harry Baliaga Jr. as one of the abductors.

Apart from the investigation, Biñas said eyewitness Cabintoy also positively identified Baliaga in a hearing at the Court of Appeals (CA) on May 10, 2012, where he was also present.

Baliaga is facing arbitrary detention charges in relation to the disappearance.

In Baliaga’s motion for reconsideration filed before DOJ in September 2013, he described the CHR’s investigation as “a result of a fishing expedition” and “a witch hunt.”

In an interview with Bulatlat.com, Baliaga said he cannot understand why his name kept cropping up in hearings related to Jonas’ disappearance.

During the Court of Appeals hearing held on May 23 to 24, 2012, Baliaga said he was on board a bus to Baguio City at the time of Jonas’ disappearance. He claimed that he arrived in their hometown in Besao, Mt. Province on April 28, around 4 p.m., where he stayed until May 1, 2007 to join a family reunion.

Jonas’s brother, JL, said the higher court believed the eyewitnesses that they presented, rather than Baliaga’s “biased witnesses,” referring to the soldier’s family who took the witness stand at the CA hearing.

Baliaga, he added, has failed to provide a strong alibi that he was not behind Jonas’ disappearance.

Jonas was abducted on April 28, 2007 at a restaurant in Quezon City. He remains missing. ()

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