“An order by the [Supreme] Court for the military to produce Jonas was not complied with and to this day, nobody has been cited in contempt.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — After 11 years since peasant activist Jonas Burgos was forcibly disappeared, his family and supporters called on the military to surface him.
“An order by the [Supreme] Court for the military to produce Jonas was not complied with and to this day, nobody has been cited in contempt,” the Burgos family said in a statement.
The high court affirmed the March 27, 2013 resolution of the Court of Appeals that the Philippine Army took Jonas Burgos on April 28, 2007, establishing that Jonas is a victim of enforced disappearance.
Instead of being held accountable, the perceived perpetrators have been promoted.
Speaking in a gathering at the Church of the Holy Sacrifice, Jonas’ brother JL said in Filipino, “How could you move on if the mastermind behind the abduction was appointed as DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government] Secretary?”
JL is referring to Eduardo Año who was chief of the Intelligence Service Group of the Philippine Army when Jonas was abducted. Año was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as DILG chief in January.
Meanwhile, the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the time of Jonas’ abduction, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, is now the President’s national security adviser. Other military officials implicated on case such as Melquiades Feliciano and Alexander Yano were also promoted.
The charges filed against one of the suspects Major Harry Baliaga Jr. was dismissed by the local court last year.
READ: Justice denied: Baliaga acquitted, search for Jonas continues after a decade
“The case of Jonas is a clear example of why impunity and tyranny continue to afflict our society,” the family said.
11 years of incessant yearning
Still, the family never loses hope.
Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of Jonas, said during the Holy Mass, April 27, “To be in a suspended state of yearning for 11 years is not easy.”
“At every incidence of the search, I would either feel a throbbing anxiety that starts in the heart and ends with a dry throat and trembling hands or a stinging, nagging conscience reminding me that I am Christ’s disciple and should never be condemning even towards someone we are sure has the knowledge of Jonas’ whereabouts…” Mrs. Burgos said.
“In God’s hands, there is hope, there is firm belief that Jonas will be found,” Mrs. Burgos said.