CPA STATEMENT ON
THE DECISION FOR THE PETITION ON THE WRIT OF AMPARO FOR JAMES BALAO
The Decision on the Petition for Issuance of
the Writ of Amparo in Favor of James Moy Balao has finally been
issued after a miserably long wait since the Balao Family and the
Cordillera Peoples Alliance filed it with Branch 63 of the Regional
Trial Court in La Trinidad, Benguet in October 2008. It was granted
amidst efforts of the Respondents to dismiss the petition.
Issued on January 19, 2009, the Judgment clearly
states that what had happened to James is a case of an enforced
disappearance, it is State-perpetrated and politically motivated,
affirming this by recognizing that James' "abduction came at
a time when the government is engaged in an all-out war against
its perceived enemies, which has resulted in unabated extrajudicial
killings, abductions, political persecution and violations of civil
and political rights of the people. It happened at a time when organizations
and individuals critical of the government are tagged as terrorists
or enemies of the State," and that "On record is evidence
pointing to the more likely than not motive for James Balao's disappearance-his
Thus, it is not a purge within the CPA, not an offshoot of clan
disputes or a personal grudge against James as so stated by the
Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines
In fact, Presiding Judge Benigno Galacgac states
in the Judgment, "I have no reason to doubt that in his time
he was a very good CPA researcher, educator, trainor and organizer
who spent most of his times living with, educating and organizing
farmers in the provinces while doing some research for the CPA."
The Court likewise admits that indeed, the "police
and military failed in conducting an effective investigation of
James Balao's abduction as revealed by the investigation report
of respondent's own witness Hon. Chief Superintendent Eugene Martin
and Hon. Senior Superintendent Fortunato Albas xxx The investigation
was very limited, superficial and one-sided."
Directed to respondents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
as the Commander-in-Chief of the AFP, Eduardo Ermita, Gilberto Teodoro,
Ronaldo Puno, Norberto Gonzales, Gen. Alexander Yano, Gen. Jesus
Versoza, Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, Lt. P/Dir. Edgardo Doromal,
Maj. Gen. Isagani Cachuela, Commanding Officer of the AFP-ISU based
in Baguio City, PSS Eugene Martin of the PRO-CAR and several John
Does, the Judgment instructs the above, and "all persons acting
for and in their behalf to a) disclose where James Balao is detained
or confined, b) to release James Balao considering his unlawful
detention since his abduction, c) to cease and desist from further
inflicting harm upon his person and d) respect and protect his civil
and constitutional rights and liberty."
The Decision is strongly-worded and boldly states
that the State is responsible and accountable for James' abduction.
Thus, these merit the granting of the interim orders as far as inspection,
production and witness protection. However, the Court denied the
issuance of the said orders for failure of the Petitioners to comply
with the stringent provisions on the Rule on the Writ of Amparo.
The stringent provisions defeat the heart of the Writ of Amparo.
This is especially since the petition clearly shows the urgency
and necessity of the Writ, and the witnesses and evidence presented
were not rebutted during the hearings.
While the Court directed the respondents to the
above orders (a, b and c) - the respondents can easily deny that
James is not in their custody. However, disappointed we may be on
the judgment and slow justice this shall not dampen our continuing
efforts to search and surface James, and exact State accountability
on his enforced disappearance. #