Feb 10, 2021 @ 22:29

‘Burden of denial’: AFP chief invents new legal concept for Tetch Torres Tupas terrorist-tagging case

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not clear Inquirer.net writer Tetch Torres-Tupas of terrorism allegations, with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana even inventing a new legal concept to justify it: “burden of denial.”

In a report by ABS-CBN News, Sobejana was quoted as saying that the AFP would still look into the accusation of his mistah, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, that Torres-Tupas was “aiding the terrorist by spreading lies.”

Parlade falsely described as “FAKE” Torres-Tupas’s article regarding the filing of a petition-in-intervention in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATC) cases by Aeta men Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos, who were then represented by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) Central Luzon chapter.

Sobejana said: “On the part of Gen. Parlade, na sa kanya ang burden of proof na bakit sinabi niya na supporter si Ma’am Tupas.”

However, he had a different understanding of what would happen if Parlade presented evidence against Torres-Tupas.

“Ngayon, kung mayroon siyang mai-presentang ebidensya establishing that si Ma’am Tupas ay supporter, burden of denial naman na kay Ma’am Tupas,” Sobejana said.

The term “burden of denial” is unheard of. There is no such burden that needs to be satisfied by a respondent, who has a right to remain silent and avoid incriminating himself.

In an administrative proceeding, it will only depend on which party presents the stronger evidence, and the respondent is not even required to submit his evidence if he does not want to, at his own risk.

In a criminal trial, the prosecution will need to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt. If the evidence fails to meet this, the accused can just file a demurrer asking the court to cut the trial short and acquit him even if he does not present evidence to defend himself. If the evidence is strong enough, the accused is given the choice to present evidence to avoid conviction.

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