By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – As the Burgos family remembers in dismay the ninth year of disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos, they also are also resentful of President Aquino’s failed promise to surface their loved one.
“Six years ago, President Noynoy Aquino gave his word to the Burgos family. He promised that Jonas will be surfaced and that justice will be served. The term of the President is almost over, and yet Jonas remains a desaparecido nine years after he was abducted,” a statement of the Burgos’ family read.
Aquino, when he was still senator, mentioned and assailed Jonas’ disappearance before a speech in the senate back in 2007, in commemoration of his father’s asassination. He said Jonas’ case “bears a chilling similarity to the authorities that stood by, watched, and did nothing as my father was murdered on August 21, 1983.”
“The President’s inaction on the case is the same inaction we saw from the former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. If we’ve found Arroyo guilty, then how can we say that President Aquino is not part of the state’s cover up of the crime?” said JL, Jonas’ brother.
Jonas was abducted by suspected soldiers on April 28, 2007 inside a fastfood restaurant in Quezon City.
Instead of ensuring that justice will be served, one of the main suspects in Jonas’ disappearance, Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, was promoted and appointed as chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) under Aquino.
Año now heads the Philippine Army.
Meanwhile, the Burgos family is still pursuing a kidnapping case against Maj. Harry Baliaga, who was positively identified by one of the witnesses as one of those who abducted Jonas inside a mall in Quezon City.
The Burgos family said the government’s inaction and its continuous cover-up on Jonas’ case perpetuate impunity and encourages human rights violations.
The family said, “With the coming elections, the family and friends of Jonas hope that the next president will not be part of the continuing cover-up. The Burgos family challenges the next president to bring the perpetrators to justice and bring Jonas back home.”