Friday, June 1, 2007

Unity Statement of Writers, Artists and Journalists

We call on all our colleagues in the art and writers circle to manifest their support in our call to the AFP, PNP and the GMA government to double their effort in locating Jonas Joseph Burgos, son of late press freedom icon Jose 'Joe' Burgos, who was forcibly abducted last April 28, 2007 at the Ever Gotesco Commonwealth in Quezon City.

We are humbly soliciting your signatures in support of our call to surface Jonas and all desaparecidos and demand justice for all the victims of human rights violations of the current and previous government in our country. (see statement below)

We are hopeful that we would be in unison in this call. Every name counts. You count.

Please send your name at for more information call 4546468

Free Jonas Burgos. Free all Desaparecidos.

Let Us Keep Vigil and Tear the Curtain of Darkness

We are writers, artists and journalists. Our work thrives on the freedom of expression and of the press – which is among the foundations of any democracy.

History shows that the curtailment of freedom of expression and of the press is among the first steps taken by would-be dictators. It is no small wonder then that writers, artists and journalists have historically been among the fiercest opponents of authoritarianism.

On Feb. 25, 1986, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ousted after three days of what has come to be known as the EDSA I uprising.

The struggle against the dictatorship, however, was not just three days. EDSA I was the culmination of more than a decade of anti-dictatorship struggle by the Filipino people, which took several forms at various times.

Among the key figures in the fight against the Marcos dictatorship were many of our fellow writers, artists and journalists – the likes of Romulo “Mulong” Sandoval, Lino Brocka, and Armando Malay to name just a few.

At this point in our country’s often-turbulent history, we are compelled to revisit the struggle for democracy waged by those who came before us, because the gains of that battle – which greatly benefited us – are now under attack.

This manifests, among other things, in the April 28, 2007 abduction of Jonas Joseph Burgos – son of the late press freedom hero Jose “Joe” Burgos, Jr. – in Quezon City by armed men. He was snatched while having lunch at Hapag Kainan Restaurant at Ever Gotesco-Commonwealth and dragged into a van with plate number TAB 194. He has not been seen since then.

Jonas is an agriculturist who teaches organic farming methods to peasants in Bulacan. The van with plate number TAB 194 had been impounded for some time at the headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion – which is based in Norzagaray, Bulacan – after being confiscated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in anti-logging operations.

Jonas is not the first to fall victim to enforced disappearances. With 199 victims having been documented since 2001, he is the 16th victim this year alone.

The enforced disappearances are taking place alongside extra-judicial killings, now numbering more than 800 since 2001.

The victims were known in their communities as government critics. A good number were confirmed to have been active in cause-oriented groups, while the rest were not affiliated with any political organization. In several of the cases, state forces have been identified as the perpetrators.

The recent passage of an Anti-Terrorism Bill that defines terrorism so vaguely that even publishing or producing works with the slightest criticism of the government may be construed as a “terorristic” act should concern all who value the freedom of expression and of the press.

We are indeed at a dark chapter in our country’s history. We urge our fellow writers, artists and journalists to join us in keeping vigil and tearing the curtain of darkness in this night of our people.#


· April 28, 2007, 1:20 pm,
o Jonas Burgos was abducted by 4-8 unidentified men.
o The Burgos family was expecting Jonas to be home that night.

· April 29, 2007
o The Burgos family tried contacting Jonas’ cell phone.
o Jonas texted by 10:45 am. Saying “Sensya na, naliligo lang.
o The family was able to talk to Jonas but he appeared drugged/drunk. He was talking nonsense.

· April 30, 2007
o The family held a press conference at Q.C. and announced that Jonas Burgos, son of press freedom icon Joe Burgos, is missing.
o A witness appeared at a show in ABS – CBN stating that he (witness) saw Jonas being abducted by 4 unidentified men at Hapag Kainan, Ever gotesco, commonwealth.

· May 1, 2007
o Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) conducted an investigation. 2 more witnesses appeared and confirmed that Jonas was abducted by 4 men while a lady companion and two other men acted as back up. While Jonas was being dragged he kept on shouting

o One of the witnesses, a security guard on duty, tried to intervene with the group and was told by one of the abductors
. The abductors then dragged Jonas to a waiting Maroon Toyota Revo with plate no. TAB 164.
o The CIDU was able to produce a cartographic sketch of the two suspects.

· May 2, 2007
o Former President Corazon C. Aquino expressed concern over the abduction of Jonas.

· May 3, 2007
o World press freedom day. Visit at Joe Burgos’ puntod at San Miguel Camp Tecson visit
o Candle Lighting at Bantayog ng mga bayani
o Cory statement

· May 4
o Indignation rally at the People power monument
o CHR statement addressed to AFP PNP to find jonas

May 5
o E.U. ambassador Alistair Macdonald statement
May 7
o Crame picket
o Rally – Timog Circle

May 8
o Van plates traced to camp of 56th IB
o 56th IB denies involvement, says plates were stolen by settlers

May 10
o Visited mothers including President Aquino in her home in Quezon City

May 11
o Makati Rally to EU Embassy visit
o Col. Melquiades Feliciano , CO of 56th IB, is suspended over stolen plates
o Jam for Jonas, artists unite for Jonas.

May 12
o Mothers Day sharing for families of Desaparecidos

May 16
o Motored to Abucay, Bataan to verify the identity of male cadaver

May 19
o Rally from Philcoa to QC Memorial Circle with relatives and friends of desaparecidos

May 21
o 56th IB visit
o Sighting of Jonas in Mariveles, Bataan was reported. It turned out to be a false ID.

Additional information from GMA News Research

May 25, 2007
Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona joined a protest rally of militant groups in front of Camp Aguinaldo calling for the release of Jonas.
AFP used music to silence the rally.

May 28, 2007
Five Philippine Army officers and personnel implicated in the abduction of Jonas showed up before police investigators at Camp Crame and denied any involvement in the crime.

May 29, 2007
Dr. Burgos met with Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to seek his help in finding Jonas.

June 1, 2007
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Angel Lagdameo posted on his blog and on YouTube a prayer seeking the safe release of Jonas.

June 2, 2007
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called Dr. Burgos to express her concern about Jonas. The President also reminded her to go see Gen. Esperon.

June 8, 2007
The Burgos family started a prayer campaign for the release of Jonas.

June 13, 2007
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called on their colleagues to "keep vigil" and continue working to tear the "curtain of darkness."

June 15, 2007
Mrs. Burgos took the witness stand during the Commission on Human Rights hearing on the case of Jonas. »
In the same hearing, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Major General Delfin Bangit denied that the intelligence unit has anything to do with the abduction, stressing that Jonas "is not an enemy of the state."

June 22, 2007
Dr. Burgos received a received text message claiming Jonas is already dead. She said she did not believe it.

June 27, 2007
In a statement, Dr. Burgos accused the Philippine Army of kidnapping his son. She also said Esperon is "covering up the crime committed against Jonas."

July 3, 2007
Army chief Lieutenant General Romeo Tolentino said the military is looking into the possible involvement of Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade, a breakaway faction of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the abduction of Jonas.

July 5, 2007
Armed Forces Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said that he has been advised by the Judge Advocate General’s Office that releasing the AFP Provost Marshal report to the Burgos family was no longer necessary.

July 6, 2007
Dr. Burgos said she found striking similarities between the cartographic sketches of the suspects in the abduction of five supporters of former President Joseph Estrada in Quezon City last year and those in the abduction of her son.

Bukas na liham para kay JONAS

(Ang liham na ito ni Jose Luis Burgos,kapatid ng dinukot na si Jonas Joseph Burgos, ay nakapaskil kasama ng kanyang larawan sa mga poster na makikita sa mga pader, poste, kubeta at waiting sheds sa Quezon City. Nagbabakasakali ang kapatid ni Jonas na maantig ang damdamin ng mga may pakana ng kanyang pagkawala.

Pakiusap: magtulong-tulong po tayo na ipalaganap ang mensaheng ito ni JL sa kapatid nyang si Jonas. )

Isang sulat para kay Kuya Jay (May 7, 2007)

Sana pinapabasa ka nila ng dyaryo.

Sana umabot sayo ang mensaheng ito.

Alam naming mahirap ang sitwasyon mo ngayon. Alam din namin na nagaalala ka sa pamilya. Ayos ang mag-ina. Matibay na hinaharap ng mag-uutol ang sitwasyon. At bibilib ka sa husay ni moms. Magu-gulat ka sa dami ng suporta. Kasama ang mga kaibigan, sama-sama naming hinaharap ang struggle na to.

Naalala mo nung kinulong si erpats, di natinag ang pamilya. Ngayon sa krisis na hinaharap natin lalong di matitinag ang pamilya. Huwag kang magalit na kinukwento namin sa mga kaibigan ang pagkain mo ng tutubi, ang pagiging pasaway mo nung bata ka pa. Kasi kailangan nila malaman na tao ka at di hayop tulad ng ginawa ng mga dumukot sayo.

Gusto ko lang sabihin sa'yo na tibayan mo ang loob mo. Tandaan mo na ang iyong paniniwala at paninindigan ay para sa nakakarami. Mas mahusay at mas matapang ka sa mga may hawak sayo. Mga duwag at traydor ang dumukot sayo. Kung anuman ang ginagawa sayo para balewalain ang pagkatao mo ay alam mong mas tao ka kaysa sa pinapamukha nila sayo. Tibayan mo ang loob mo dahil nasa tama kang paninindigan. Huwag na huwag kang mag-aalala sa min. Ayos kami. At pinagyayabang ka namin. Isa kang mabuting tao at sinisigaw naming yan sa buong mundo.

Konting tiis pa tol at magkakasama nating titingnan ang pagsikat ng araw!

Para sa bayan!!! At para sa lahat ng biktima ng paglabag ng karapatang pantao!!!


Si JL Burgos ay nakababatang kapatid ni Jay-Jay at isa sa mga unang naging miyembro ng UGAT Lahi. Siya ay isang visual artist at video editor. Isa sa mga walang sawang nakikiisa, tumutulong at nakikibahagi sa pagsisimula ng tutoK karapatan.

Si jay-jay ay si Jonas Burgos. Anak ng yumaong Jose Burgos tagapagtatag ng We Forum at Malaya newspaper mga independenteng puklikasyon ng panahon ng diktaduryang Marcos. Pinaniniwalaang dinukot ng elemento ng militar nuong Abril 28 2007 sa Ever Gotesco Mall sa Commonwealth si Jonas.