Back Story: Searching for a son and the elusive quest for justice

jonas burgos
Since April 28, 2007, the family and supporters of Jonas Burgos have started looking for him. The went to the police, military camps, to the courts and other government agencies. At every turn, they found coverups and outright lies.

Holding on to undying hope of finding Jonas and relying on the courage of witnesses, pieces of the truth have been unraveled.

After almost six years of arduous and painful journey, the family obtained a photograph of Jonas — and with it are damning pieces of evidence pointing to the culpability of men in uniform.

Will this finally lead to finding Jonas?

Below are stories and videos over the past five years.


What is the point of another ‘parallel investigation’?

In a landmark decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should be held accountable for the enforced disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos. The decision of the Appeals court on the writ of habeas corpus and the writ of amparo petitions filed by the Burgos family also pointed to Maj. Harry Baliaga Jr, who was then assigned to the 56th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as responsible for Jonas’s forcible abduction.

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Initially saying that they would cooperate and that the AFP respects human rights and the rule of law, the AFP made a sudden turnaround when, perhaps, it realized the gravity of the impact of the decision that clearly points to their culpability. It is now saying that they are exploring their legal options, which generally means that they are preparing legal counter-measures. The AFP also admitted that Maj. Harry Baliaga is still in active duty.

True to its role of “cleaner” of the AFP by making sure that the investigation does not result in the identification of the real culprits from among the armed forces and always goes in the direction of the “purge within the NPA” wastebasket conclusion, Police Director General Alan Purisima immediately dismissed the Appeals court decision and declared that there is no evidence to implicate anybody. It could be remembered that despite the police blotter filed by the family and the leads and evidences they provided, the police still concluded that Jonas was abducted in a supposed purge with the ranks of the NPA. They even produced three witnesses, who are now enlisted personnel of the AFP, to bolster their ridiculously made-up conclusion.(Click here to read more)

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(Photo from /

Jonas Burgos, gentle and brave

Jonas or Jay to his family was born on an Easter Sunday, on March 29, 1970. “I was attending Mass when my labor began. In less than an hour, before the Mass ended, I gave birth to him,” Mrs. Edita Burgos recalled. Jonas is the middle child of the five children of Mrs. Burgos and press freedom icon, Jose Burgos Jr.

As a child, Jay was full of energy. “I would tell his teachers to keep him busy or else they’d get into trouble,” Mrs. Burgos said. Jay went to Victoria School Foundation during his grade school. (Click here to read more)

burgos family

After five years, Jonas Burgos still missing

In hopes of finding Jonas Burgos, Mrs. Edita Burgos and her family have turned to the judicial system but found it wanting.

“We went through the legal process and here we are now,” Mrs. Burgos said in an interview a few days before the fifth year of the disappearance of her son. She encountered a labyrinth and she is still nowhere near finding even a trace of her missing son. (Click here to read more)

Seeking justice for Jonas Burgos

Despite the risks involved, Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos, is determined to sue all those involved in the abduction of her son.

In an interview with, Mrs. Burgos said, surveillance on her intensified again after the release of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) report implicating the military in the enforced disappearance of her son. (Click here to read more)

Burgos family dares police to stop covering up Army’s culpability

Three days after the 43rd birthday of missing activist Jonas Burgos, his family went back to the Supreme Court in an effort to find him.

With new pieces of evidence at hand, Mrs. Edita Burgos, accompanied by her son JL and supporters from human rights group Karapatan, filed an urgent ex parte motion seeking to refer the case back to the Court of Appeals for further hearing.

Jonas’s brother, JL, said a source who has requested anonymity provided them a photograph of Jonas taken days after he was abducted and documents that would prove that an intelligence unit of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and the 56th Infantry Battalion operating together abducted Jonas Burgos on April 28, 2007 at the Ever Gotesco Mall, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. (Click here to read more)

Burgos family dares police to stop covering up Army’s culpability

The Philippine National Police (PNP), through its chief, Director General Alan Purisima, was quick to dismiss the new evidence filed by the family of missing activist Jonas Burgos.

In a report by Interaksyon, Purisima said there is no enough evidence to implicate anyone in the enforced disappearance of Jonas.

“We do not have records of anything. Those are just reports. May statements na ganito, na ganu’n, we do not have that. Kailangan natin ‘yung tunay na imbestigasyon, dalhin natin sa kapulisan, execute ka ng affidavit (We need a genuine investigation, let us bring it to the police, execute an affidavit)” Purisima was quoted as saying in the report. (Click here to read more)

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