Seeking Justice for Jonas Burgos
Published on May 6, 2011
Mrs. Burgos told Bulatlat.com that for three consecutive nights, a van with tinted windows parked in front of their house in Quezon City for 15 minutes.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – 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 Bulatlat.com, 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.
Jonas, son of press freedom icon Jose “Joe” Burgos Jr., was abducted on April 28, 2007 at the Ever Gotesco mall in Commonwealth, Quezon City by elements of the Philippine Army.
Mrs. Burgos told Bulatlat.com that for three consecutive nights, a van with tinted windows parked in front of their house in Quezon City for 15 minutes. In all three occasions, no one boarded or stepped out of the van. Mrs. Burgos said she also noticed motorcycle-riding men tailing her several times.
“I have learned to be alert,” Mrs. Burgos said. “I am ready to hit them with my bag,” she added.
The surveillance and harassment she has been experiencing are not new. At one time, Mrs. Burgos’s car was taken. Reliable sources told her that anti-carnapping syndicates were not the ones who did it.
In a media briefing on May 4, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced that steps are being taken in relation to the recommendations submitted by the CHR to the Supreme Court.
The CHR recommended the filing of kidnapping charges against Lt. Harry Baliaga, commander of the 56th Infantry Battalion’s Bravo Company, 7th Infantry Division, based in Bulacan. Baliaga was identified by two witnesses as one of those who abducted Jonas. The Commission also urged the Supreme Court to grant the petition for writ of amparo filed by Mrs. Burgos.
The CHR was tasked by the Supreme Court to investigate the abduction of Jonas Burgos. In its resolution, the High Court noted that there were “significant lapses” in the police investigation. The Burgos family filed a petition seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals’s decision denying their petition for writ of amparo and absolving police and military officials implicated in the Burgos case.
On April 29, Mrs. Burgos met with Prosecutor General Claro Arellano to discuss the filing of formal charges against Baliaga.
De Lima said they hope to start the preliminary investigation on Baliaga soon.
Mrs. Burgos called for the suspension of Baliaga. “He must be detained in the barracks so that any time, he can be summoned by the courts,” she said.
Mrs. Burgos said she is set to meet with a panel of prosecutors next week.
As for the threats, Mrs. Burgos said: “I am ready to see God any time. My only fear is that they would go after my children.” She is determined to pursue the family’s search for Jonas and their struggle for justice.