Jonas Burgos case: 10 years of hope
The mother of abducted activist Jonas Burgos, who is still missing after 10 years, refused to give up hope her son would be found or his fate at least known, but she feels like giving up on one thing she had thought could help in her search — a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Edita Burgos admitted she once was raring to have an audience with Mr. Duterte because she saw the President as a “man of action.” She now doubts if “it’s worth it.”
“I’m not sure if we will continue to seek out his time,” Edita said, citing stories of Mr. Duterte keeping his VIP visitors, even “relatives of favored senators,” waiting.
“How much more those who aren’t favored, like me?” said Edita.
She said she believed armed forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año “is already so angry at me.”
“One word from him and the President may no longer see us,” Edita said. “But we will try other avenues.”
Año was chief of the Intelligence Service Group when Jonas was abducted from a Quezon City restaurant, believed to be by military personnel, on April 28, 2007. Año was among respondents named by the Burgos family in criminal complaints filed at the Department of Justice.
Edita, however, said she should not even be begging for Mr. Duterte’s help because it was the President’s duty as “father” of the nation, to help all Filipinos.
“Because you are the President, the father of the country, look for one of your disappeared ‘sons,’ as well as your other disappeared ‘children,’” Edita said.
Edita said she would not tire of talking about her son’s case, talking with “those who will listen so I can tell them Jonas is still missing, he is not yet home.”
Jose Luis Martin Gascon, chair of the Commission on Human Rights, said finding Jonas, or knowing what happened to him, was part of the search for justice.
“If we don’t hold perpetrators to account, then what will happen is what is happening now: impunity,” he said.
At a rally in front of Camp Aguinaldo, the armed forces headquarters in Quezon City, at least 40 activists wore masks representing Jonas.
“Let Jonas’ face be marked in their memories,” said Concepcion Empeño, chair of the group Desaparecidos (Disappeared) and mother of abducted student Karen Empeño, also a victim of forced disappearance.—WITH A REPORT FROM PHILIP TUBEZA
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