MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Aug) – Filipino police on Tuesday implicated the New People’s Army in the abduction of a political activist in Manila and said it has three people who provided information about the victim.
Jonas Joseph Burgos, a trainer of a peasant organization, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines) went missing following his abduction inside a restaurant in Caloocan City.
His family said one witness in the abduction saw Burgos forced into a vehicle with license plate number TAB-194, which was later traced to a vehicle impounded by the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion in Bulacan province.
The military said the license plate was stolen from the vehicle inside their base.
The vehicle, owned by Mudlong Mauro, was seized by army soldiers for transporting illegal lumber in June 2006. It previously linked communist insurgents in the disappearance of Burgos.
Edgardo Doromal, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said they have in custody Emerito Lipio, also known as Ka Tibo and Marlon Manuel, both NPA rebels captured in Bulacan province, and Melissa Concepcion, a former NPA fighter.
Lipio said the NPA ordered rebels to investigate Burgos who was suspected of spying for the military among other allegations.
“Ka Ramon was seen talking to a government soldier. He was also reported seeing and talking to rebel returnees and several times went home without permission from the NPA,” Lipio said at a news conference in Manila.
Last month, ssenior state prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco, of the Presidential Task Force Against Media Harassment, ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to summon six intelligence soldiers to shed light on the case after a witness implicated them to Burgos’ disappearance.
Velasco was removed from the case after he implicated the soldiers in the abduction of Burgos.Intelligence chief Maj. General Delfin Bangit said no soldiers from his group were involved in the abduction of the activist.
Burgos’ family denied the allegations of the military. The activist’s mother, Edith Burgos, said the military was behind the abduction her son.
“My son Jonas, according to witnesses, was forcibly taken by a group of six males and one female while he was having lunch at the Hapag Kainan Restaurant in Ever Gotesco Mall, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, on April 28, 2007 at about 1.30 p.m. As he was being forcibly taken, he was shouting “Aktibista lang po ako! (I am only an activist).”
“I realized that Jonas could be missing when he did not come home that night of April 28th,” she said. (Mindanao Examiner)