Missing activists’ moms see hope under Duterte
The mothers of missing activists Jonas Burgos and Sherlyn Cadapan have expressed guarded optimism the victims of enforced disappearance would be surfaced under the Duterte administration.
Edita Burgos and Erlinda Cadapan on Saturday said they intended to write incoming president Rodrigo Duterte to tell him about their plight and seek his help in finding the truth.
Cadapan noted that Duterte had not made a pronouncement about the case of her missing daughter, Sherlyn Cadapan, and the latter’s University of the Philippines schoolmate, Karen Empeño, who were abducted on June 26, 2006, in Bulacan.
Cadapan was apprehensive about Duterte’s promise to release former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and his plan to appoint Lt. Gen Ricardo Visaya as Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff.
Visaya was said to be a protege of Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan (ret.), who is on trial for Karen and Sherlyn’s abduction during the crackdown on insurgency under the Arroyo administration.
“I don’t like the idea because they are the reasons our loved ones are missing,” Cadapan told the Inquirer in an interview.
“I hope our children’s case will be solved. It’s very painful for us, almost 10 years of going back and forth to court. We just wish to see them, to know what happened to them,” Cadapan said.
Farmer Raymond Manalo, who escaped from military detention, had testified that he saw the two UP students in Camp Tecson in Bulacan.
In separate orders, the Supreme Court compelled the military to produce Jonas, Karen and Sherlyn.
Jonas was abducted in Quezon City on April 28, 2007, taken away in a vehicle whose license plate was traced to an impounded vehicle at an Army camp in Bulacan.
“I have appealed to President Aquino and he said he would go by the evidence but he didn’t do anything. I was hopeful that when the 2013 Supreme Court order came out that, as commander in chief, he would order the military or at least explain to me the truth of what really happened, but there was no action,” Burgos said.
She said she hoped the Army would comply with the Supreme Court order under the new administration.
“I don’t know the new president, but I perceive that he’s a no-nonsense man and that if there’s evidence, he has the courage to come out in the open despite what others will say,” she said.
The widow of press freedom fighter Joe Burgos said the Free Jonas Burgos Movement will remain vigilant against violations of human rights as “we likewise pray that our leaders would be guided by a sincere desire to bring peace to our country.”
“This mother hopes that the presumptive president—who honors his mother by attributing what he is largely to his mother’s rearing—would listen, have pity and end the torture of the family by ordering the surfacing of Jonas and the other disappeared,” Burgos said.