Edith Burgos asks Robredo to include disappeared in electoral agenda

It’s been 15 years since Jonas was abducted

The mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos appealed to Vice President Leni Robredo to be the voice of the forcibly disappeared who are the “poorest among the poor because they are voiceless.”

On the 15th anniversary of the abduction of Jonas today, Mrs. Edita Burgos published an open letter asking the presidential candidate to put the issue of the forcibly disappeared in her electoral agenda.

“[A]nd most of all knowing that above all you are a caring and loving mother to your children, I take courage in asking you to please be the voice of the voiceless. The victims of enforced disappearance were taken away from the protection of the law, their whereabouts are kept unknown to their families,” Mrs. Burgos wrote.

 “At this critical point of history in our country, the Philippines, I believe that each Filipino parent has that God-given opportunity to act concretely to secure a better future for their children,” Mrs. Burgos added.

Mrs. Burgos said she chose to write to Robredo based on what she has heard about the Vice President’s track record, her values from her speeches and interviews and seeing how she is drawn to the least served people in the country.

Mrs. Burgos said that she is confident Robredo will open her mother’s heart to a fellow mother and all relatives of victims of enforced disappearance, giving her confidence to ask the candidate to put the issue of enforced disappearance and their search for justice.

A video commemorating the 15th anniversary of Jonas Burgos’ abduction.

Jonas, a peasant rights activist, was abducted while having lunch at a Quezon City mall on April 28, 2007 his family believes were Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel under the command of Gen. Jovito Palparan.

The Burgoses filed arbitrary detention charges against then Philippine Army Major Harry Baliaga Jr. but was acquitted by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216 in October 2017.

Baliaga was an officer assigned to the 5th Infantry Battalion based in Norzagaray, Bulacan were the vehicle used in Jonas’ abduction was reported to have been seen.

The Court said testimonies of the witnesses were “hearsay.”

Mrs. Burgos has repeatedly said she is confident they will still find Jonas.

In this interview immediately after the promulgation of the case, Burgos’ prosecuting attorney Edre Olalia said the setback is not end of their quest for justice.

“We commemorate his 15th anniversary of abduction with the same vigor and determination. Yet, though with sadness, in the spirit of joining our will to God’s will and accepting reality as it is, we look at this year’s commemoration in the context of the present socio-political situation in our country and endeavor to open new doors,” Mrs. Burgos wrote to Robredo.

“This perspective has given us hope,” she added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)