MANILA, Apr 18 (Mabuhay) – The case of Jonas Burgos, an activist who was picked up by government agents and has gone missing for the past six years, will be one of the priorities of a government “superbody” created to look into extra-judicial killings.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima made the disclosure during the third regular meeting of the committee Thursday at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The case of Burgos, which the Court of Appeals recently ruled as a case of enforced disappearance committed by elements of the Philippine Army, will be among the 101 priority cases from 2001 to 2012 that will be handled by the committee based on the recommendation of the technical working group.
The priority list will be further trimmed but “yes definitely Burgos is in the priority list,” the justice secretary said, adding that progress reports will be made public in the future.
The committee will also monitor the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the Jonas Burgos Case. The committee’s probe will be separate from the one directed by the Supreme Court on the same case.
On Thursday, members of the committee signed the operational guidelines which will guide the committee in its undertaking. Included in these guidelines are the definitions, elements of extra-legal killings, torture and enforced disappearances; the creation of various teams to handle and monitor pending cases.
Among the signatories of the guidelines include the Department of National Defense, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and other agencies.
The inter-agency committee was created through Administrative Order No. 35 signed by President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino also signed the landmark law, Republic Act 10350 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 last year. (MNS)