By ANTHONY IAN CRUZ
December 31, 2007
A MONTH before retiring from the service, Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has been ordered to appear before the Court of Appeals in connection with the grant of the writ of amparo sought by the mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos.
Esperon was directed to appear on January 7 in the decision penned by Justice Remedios Salazar Fernando of the CA’s Special Division last December 21.
Esperon is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 of February 9.
Jonas was abducted last April while eating in a restaurant in a mall in Quezon City. His mother, Edita, is holding the military responsible for the disappearance.
A vehicle used by Jonas’ abductors was seen with the license plate (TAB 194) of a vehicle that has been in the custody of the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion based in Bulacan since June last year.
Lawyer Ricardo Fernandez said the Burgos family is ready to face Esperon at CA hearing.
“In fact, we will present Mrs. Burgos as our first witness,” he said.
Mrs. Burgos is the widow of Malaya founding publisher and press freedom icon Jose Burgos.
On the court’s decision granting the writ of amparo, Fernandez said “Esperon will have to make a return of the writ within five days or explain in detail what they know about Jonas’ disappearance, and not merely deny that they have or had him in custody as they have done when we applied for and obtained a writ of habeas corpus.”
“They must come clean on the case of Jonas,” said Fernandez.
The CA issued a writ of amparo two days after Mrs. Burgos filed a 24-page petition that seeks to compel Esperon, Army chief Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and their subordinates to render “full and unrestricted cooperation” in submitting all statements, dossier and other documentary evidence on Jonas’ abduction.
According to Mrs. Burgos, they know “who abducted Jonas, who ordered his abduction, why he was abducted and what they have done to him, whether he is still alive, where he is or where his body is buried.”