Former head of IBP in Bataan goes missingPhilippine Daily Inquirer
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in Bataan was believed abducted on Wednesday, and his family has appealed for his safety and immediate release.
Lawyer Joe Frank Zuñiga, 54, was last seen alive at 11:45 a.m. on June 20 at a business conference in Ocean Adventure at the Subic Bay Freeport. Ocean Adventure is one of Zuñiga’s clients.
“Whoever is holding Joe Frank captive, if you need anything, we’re willing to talk. Please show him now, don’t hurt him, and release him to us alive and well,” said former Orani town mayor, Dr. Marlo Zuñiga, the lawyer’s younger brother.
“John Nash [one of the executives of Ocean Adventure] said Joe Frank had told him he was bound for another meeting and that he would proceed to Limay [in Bataan],” said Dr. Zuñiga.
He said Joe Frank did not inform his wife or employees about his Wednesday appointments. Joe Frank’s mobile phone was off when family members called him at 2 p.m. on June 20. He has not returned these calls or sent text messages.
Zuñiga graduated from Ateneo de Manila University and is a member of the Utopia fraternity. He handled criminal, agrarian reform and business-related cases.
According to his brother, Zuñiga had been receiving death threats since late last year.
The lawyer’s red Honda Civic, with license plate number RJJ-593, was found parked on a dike located 2 kilometers from the Zambales-Pangasinan Highway in Barangay Carael in Botolan, Zambales, on Wednesday. Botolan is north of the Subic Bay Freeport, which is opposite the direction of Limay.
A witness told police he saw a man being dragged into a white van that was parked near the car.
The IBP in Central Luzon has asked the National Bureau of Investigation and the police to continue the search.
The family of Zuñiga joins countless of others who are kept in the dark on the disappearance of their loved ones, many of them suspected activists or guerrillas who are believed to have been abducted by government agents and have been declared missing. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon