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