Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Año's Appointment, A Sad Day For Human Rights Victims and Defenders

This is a sad day for human rights victims and defenders. Truly with the appointment of Gen. Año as army chief there is no hope at all that justice will be obtained for human rights crimes during the watch of Aquino.
I fear for defenders, victims and independent minded human rights workers. With so much power in the hands of a head of an Institution reputed to be a violator of human rights, we can only pray to the Lord Almighty to have mercy.
With all the pieces of evidence gathered in the case of Jonas, pointing to Año and his co-officers, I believe that at one point during Jonas’ disappearance, Año had custody of Jonas.
This scourge forced on us will only bring out a more dedicated commitment to the cause of human rights.
We take comfort in the thought that the One Judge sees all and will extract payment.
-Edith Burgos, mother Jonas

Monday, April 27, 2015

Open Letter to President Aquino from Edita Burgos

April 28, 2015

Honorable  Benigno C. Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines

Your Excellency:

I come with open hands offering prayers of peace for the Country, our beloved Philippines.

As you know, my son, Jonas is still missing.  Today he will have been gone for 8 years.  The case of Jonas, which the family has pursued very deliberately and carefully using peaceful means through our existing legal and government systems, has been marked by setbacks and victories.
By God’s grace we have won our legal battle. You have already been informed that our Supreme Court has affirmed the findings of the Court of Appeals to wit, (March 7, 2013):
  1. That the case of Jonas’ abduction is a CASE OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE;
  2. That the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine Army (AFP-PA) is ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE ABDUCTION;
  3. That among many John Does, Major Harry Baliaga Jr., of the Philippine Army is RESPONSIBLE for the abduction of Jonas.

As a result of these conclusions we have filed a criminal case against Harry Baliaga and the case is being heard at the Quezon City RTC Branch 216.
We have won the battle and yet we are losing the war… Jonas has not been returned to his family and nobody has been held responsible for this noncompliance of the Supreme Court order (February 2, 2014). Even the National Bureau of Investigation whom Your Excellency has ordered to investigate and to file the necessary cases as expeditiously as they can as warranted from the investigation, has not done anything after more than a year after your order was received.
The family has not left any stone unturned … taking legal steps, pursuing all available avenues both private and government.  However, we very strongly believe that you, as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, can shorten the long drawn painful process of the search.
It is in this view, that we prayerfully plead that Your Excellency, order your subordinates, the AFP-PA to follow the SC order and return Jonas to the family, at whatever state he is in.
As a mother, I personally appeal to you to end this suffering of the family of not knowing the truth about what happened to Jonas.  Surely, you who have held your own mother dear and revered, would listen to this poor mother who is looking for her son.
And, finally, we all would like a world without Disappearances, allow me to take this opportunity to appeal to you to sign the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, People from being Disappeared and thus move towards that goal.  This would be a noteworthy legacy you can leave not only with the Philippines but with the world.
With prayers for a just, peaceful and disappearance free Philippines, I am,

Mother of Jonas

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mr. President, Where is Jonas Burgos?

This week is the 8th anniversary of farmer/activist Jonas Burgos’ abduction.   
On Tuesday, 28 April 2015, the Burgos family and their friends will converge at 10 am in front of McDonald’s Quezon Ave., Q.C. to personally deliver their Letter to President Aquino.

Please join us... 

For peace and justice.

In Solidarity

Dear friends,
Free Jonas Burgos Movement is asking for your help. April 28, 2015 marks the 8th anniversary of Jonas’ abduction. We ask everyone to use this picture for your profile until the 28th in solidarity. The battle is not over…Jonas is still missing…human rights violations continue…justice remains elusive…till then the fight continues.
Free Jonas Burgos Movement

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Open letter to PNoy

April 27, 2014
Divine Mercy Sunday

Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III
The President of the Philippines

Mr. President:
Tomorrow, April 28, 2014, as we sadly commemorate the 7th anniversary of the abduction of Jonas, we recall how a few days before you were sworn in as President of the Republic of the Philippines, we were so full of hope. We, my children and I, thought that it would be just a matter of time before we would find Jonas. Our hope was anchored on your promise to do what you could ‘on the basis of evidence’ when I, accompanied by my son, personally pleaded for your help.  
This was almost four years ago, June, 2010.   
May I refresh your memory Mr. President—just by focussing on the evidence on the Jonas case:
Ø   On March 15, 2011 the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) submitted its report to the Supreme Court (SC) naming Maj. Harry Baliaga as the principal abductor of Jonas. The CHR findings were upheld by the SC in July 5, 2011, directing the military to produce Jonas.
Ø    In June 2011 I filed a criminal case with the DOJ against Harry Baliaga and Eduardo Año, et al based on the CHR findings. 
Ø   In Dec. 2, 2012 in spite of this pending preliminary investigation, Eduardo Año is appointed chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), Later Eduardo Año is promoted from Brigadier General to Major General, in spite of my objections filed with the Court of Appointments. 
Ø   March 18, 2013 the Court of Appeals has found that: a) the abduction of Jonas Burgos is a case of Enforced Disappearance; b) Maj. Harry Baliaga Jr. is held responsible for the abduction of Jonas; and c) the Armed Forces of the Philippines and elements of the AFP, particularly the Philippine Army are accountable for the abduction of Jonas Burgos.   The same findings were later upheld by the Supreme Court in its ruling dated February 2, 2014.
Ø   In the light of the new evidence I have submitted to the SC on April 1, 2013, on April 4, 2013, you issued a directive to the Department of Justice (DOJ)  to order the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a ‘focused, dedicated and exhaustive investigation on the Jonas Burgos case … to ferret out the truth…’.  Mr. President more than a year has passed since this order was given, may I know if this order elicited any result?
Ø  On April 12, 2013, the SC has ordered the chief of the AFP to locate the officers who abducted Jonas, and has issued a Temporary Protection Order to me and members of my family in cognizance of the critical value of the new evidence I submitted to the SC.  
Ø  On February 2, 2014, the same CA resolution was upheld by the Supreme Court
o   Jonas was forcibly disappeared
o   Maj. Harry Baliaga of the Philippine Army is held responsible for the disappearance.
o   The AFP-Phillippine Army is accountable for the disappearance of Jonas.
May we highlight the following facts:
Ø   In spite of the unfulfilled SC order to produce Jonas, no one has been penalized or found accountable;
Ø   In spite of the overwhelming evidence that the military is accountable for Jonas’ disappearance, you have not acted on the case as you promised;
Ø    In spite of your Order to the DOJ-NBI, there has been no ‘dedicated and exhaustive investigation’ on the case.
Ø   Meanwhile, those we believe were responsible for giving the orders to abduct Jonas, were promoted and even appointed to crucial positions which could enhance and encourage the climate of impunity, now prevalent in our country. 
As we immerse ourselves in God’s Mercy today, April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday, I bring to His most Compassionate Heart the victims of enforced disappearance and other human rights violations, the perpetrators of these inhumanity, all mankind, and you Mr. President, that the Lord of Mercies would touch our hearts and provide the grace that we need most at the moment.  Enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus, may you cast a glance at us victims of, especially Jonas and his family.  
I pray that compassion, courage and determination to resolve our cases would embrace your  whole being as you glance at us.
Dasal namin na meron pa ring parte ng puso nyo na nakikita ang tuloy tuloy na pagdurusa ng mga maraming biktima,(pamilya at nagmamhal) ng mga sapilitang nawawala.

In the love of the God of Mercy,
Mother of Jonas  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


...and those who were with us in prayer.
“Whoare you, sweet light, who fills me
andbrightens the darkness of my heart?
Youguide me like a maternal hand,
Andif you were to abandon me,
 I could not take another step.”
--St. Edith Stein prayed this prayer on the last Pentecostof her life.

Amidst the compliments, the support, the undeniable affirmation we receive from you, the darkness of the heart  encircled by the SPACE we know as the HOLY SPIRIT, can only tell us, ‘to God be the glory!’ All these are but a glimmer of HIS grace, so abundant in the crosses of mylife.  Our eternal gratitude to HIM who loved us first.

And to those who were and are His instruments accept the gratitude of the Burgos family and our fellow victims.  Salamat po sa inyo: Director Joel Lamangan , Heaven’s Best Entertainment, Ms. Harlene Bautista-Tejedor, Mr. Ricardo Lee, and all those involved in the production;  Ms. Lorna Tolentino, Rocco Nacino, Dimples Romana, Allen Dizon, Ina Feleo, Kerbie Zamora,  Bangs Garcia, and Barbara Miguel and all the actors and actresses; Dennis Evangelista and the work force behind the scenes.  Pagpalain kayo ng Diyos.

Tomy family, children, brothers, relatives … fellow Carmelites, to Human Rights advocates, to dear faithful friends, to my fellow victims… and all who wonder why, I, a very private person, now allow the public to get a glimpse into the life of the Burgos family, the film is for you.

When Director Joel proposed the idea of the film, my first motion was to just smile and shrug it off… but prayer within the year (from the time the idea was broached to the first interview with Ricky Lee), has led me to go ‘out of the walls  of Jerusalem’. Jesus was taken outside the city gates, to die in that unholy place, Calvary.  Thus, we know that ‘the love of God can be found precisely where in the eyes of men and women, God is not present.  The Cross of Christ is imbedded in the middle of a sinful sea of humanity.   I am urged to look for His face among all, the weakest to the strongest, the voiceless to the loud, including those who are furthest away.

I share with you the core message of the film … that our main preoccupation, our passion is to practice persevering and continual prayer.  To pray …while we search for Jonas or try to keep still to listen, to  pray…while we laugh and sing or as we shed tears and hug each other to ease the sorrow.  All should emanate from the heart… an overflow of love for The Unseen Lover reaching out to the ‘seen’ unloved. Then everything becomes a unifying and uninterrupted prayer. Then when the moment comes that we are no longer able to say a word of prayer because the pain is so deep or the joy is so immense, then that moment will also be prayer. 

Maraming,maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. 

God be praised for ever!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Joel Lamangan: Ilitaw si Jonas Burgos!

Award winning director and activist Joel Lamangan holds a photo of Jonas Burgos in support of the cause.  Lamangan is directing the life story of Edita Burgos.  The film will give people a glimpse into the lives of her family and their search for Jonas.