MANILA, Philippines – Army Maj Harry Baliaga Jr posted a P40,000-bail on Friday, October 25, at a Quezon City court over charges he was among those who abducted activist Jonas Burgos.
“At 1030 this morning, Maj Harry A Baliaga Jr posted his bail at the Quezon City RTC Branch 216. His arraignment is scheduled on 12 November 2013,” said Army spokesperson Randy Cabangbang.
Witnesses tagged Baliaga as behind the controversial abduction of Burgos on April 28, 2007 in a restaurant in Ever Gotesco Mall, Quezon City. (READ: Court pins down army in Burgos case)
The disappearance of Burgos, son of the late press freedom icon Joe Burgos, triggered a massive human rights campaign led by his mother Edita, who sought the help of local and international groups to pressure the military to produce him. But the military has repeatedly denied he’s in their custody. They also claimed Burgos is a member of the intelligence unit of the New People’s Army. (WATCH: Six years on, Jonas Burgos’ wife finally speaks)
Baliaga was relieved from his post but remains an active officer of the Philippine Army, according to AFP chief public information officer Lt Col Ramon Zagala.
Soldiers facing charges are relieved from their posts and “placed in a detached service, to a holding unit, so that [they] are available in case you are called to court,” Zagala explained.
Baliaga faces charges for violating Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code for the “arbitrary detention and penalizing the detention of any person without legal grounds by any public officer or employee.”
The military is fighting a four-decade-old communist insurgency. It claims to have liberated most provinces from rebel influence. – Rappler.com
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