“Now they have an idea of how painful and difficult it is for the families of the disappeared.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Mhean, wife of missing activist Jonas Burgos, likened her family’s suffering to those who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19 pandemic.
In a recorded message uploaded to Free Jonas Burgos Movement page, Mhean said that when she read and heard families who shared the pain of not being able to hug, kiss and say goodbye to their loved ones who died, she thought to herself, “Now they have an idea of how painful and difficult it is for the families of the disappeared.”
“In the case of Jonas, we have been enduring this pain for the past 13 years,” Mhean said in Filipino.
Jonas was abducted by suspected military agents on April 28, 2007. He remains missing to this day.
The Burgos family exhausted all legal venues to search for him. A Supreme Court ruling ordered the military to surface Jonas but to no avail. A local court also dismissed the charges against the perpetrators and suspected mastermind, then Col. Eduardo Año, who was then the chief of the Army Intelligence Service Group and now secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Jonas’s mother Edita, who has untiringly led the search for her son, describes the pain as “excruciating” as it was on the day Jonas did not come home.
In an open letter to Jonas, Mrs. Burgos said, “When I hear stories of how COVID-19 victims pass away without seeing or being seen by their loved ones, I wonder how perpetrators of enforced disappearances can deal with their consciences by practically doing the same thing, removing the disappeared from their families forever.”
Jonas’s daughter Yumi, who was only two years old when her father was abducted, also sent a message.
“From Mama’s stories about how Tati is as a dad, I always imagine how he would be like if he was with us every day the past 13 years,” Yumi, now 15 years old, said. “I know for sure he is a great dad, a fun dad to have.”
Still, the Burgos family does not lose hope.