No More Decade to Waste: Surface all Desaparecidos immediately!

Today, October 12, 2017, army major Harry Baliaga Jr. has been acquitted from any detention charges in relation to the case filed against him and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for being responsible in the abduction of farmer-activist, Jonas Burgos a decade ago. With the Quezon City Regional Trial Court’s (QC RTC) judgement telling that there are “no enough evidence” against Baliaga, the exhaustive 4-year trial and a decade of assertion from Jonas’ family and human rights activists who seeks for justice was dumped. Now, another bloodied hand will add to the list of Palparan, Ano, Esperon and other human rights violators in the ranks of the AFP who were made immune and free, and even high ranking army officials and cabinet members, by our own judicial system.

Moreover, the Supreme Court (SC) has recently adopted the June 2017 recommendation of the La Trinidad Regional Trial Court (LT RTC) to put the 9-year case of another desaparecido, James Balao, in archive. The resolution has definitely set the tone of giving-up in the quest for James and justice for his enforced disappearance. James is a former editor-in-chief of the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) Outcrop, also a member of CEGP-Cordillera.

These recent terrible incidents only showed the nature of our justice system that only serves the interest of the ruling few. The culture of impunity has come be the name of the court and the cycle that the ruling class forcefully imposed in our society. As the spate of fascist attacks heightens under the state-sponsored killings and human rights violation through the US-Duterte regime’s Oplan Kapayapaan, all-out war, martial law in Mindanao and the Oplan Tokhang, it has only proved that justice can never be served unless it will be collectively fought and asserted. In this days of gloom, it is our relentless struggle that will lead us to the justice that we seek to have. No decade was wasted as we fight, it is indeed the perpetrators who have wasted, if not lost, their human dignity with their sins against the people.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP)-Cordillera strongly condemns this culture of impunity and intensified fascist attacks against the people under the US-Duterte regime. We stand in solidarity with the families of Jonas, James and other victims of human rights violation in seeking for justice and calling for the immediate surface of all desaparecidos. CEGP-Cordillera pledge to further strengthen our ranks as student-journalists that will echo and amplify our call for justice. Moreover, we in the Guild commits to translate our stories, graphics and newspapers into actual actions and mobilization — all in our fight for justice and against tyranny!




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