Families of Desaparecidos to Pres. Noynoy: Take the straight path to justice

June 1, 2010

Press Release:

Reference: Mary Guy Portajada, Secretary General
Cellphone No.: 09236582310
Tel. No.: 434 2837

Families of Desaparecidos to Pres. Noynoy: Take the straight path to justice.

The Families of the Disappeared for Justice (Desaparecidos) challenged president-to-be Benigno Aquino III, as they asked his help to surface all victims of enforced disappearances under the term of the out-going Arroyo regime. Desaparecidos also asked Aquino to punish the perpetrators within the police and the military, and most importantly, Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Relatives of the disappeared challenged president-elect Noynoy Aquino to surface their missing loved ones.

In a month, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino will sit as the president of this country. Desaparecidos made reference to Aquino’s rallying line during the election campaign period. “You promised to take us to the “daang matuwid” (straight path) and vowing to fight for what is right. Now, we urge you take a stand and fight with the people who against injustice and impunity and correct the wrongdoings reigned upon us by this murderous outgoing regime.” stated Mary Guy Portajada, Desaparecidos secretary general.

Mrs. Edit Burgos, mother of missing Jonas Burgos; Chairperson of 'Desaparecidos'

“‘Daang matuwid’ for us means surfacing our loved ones and attaining justice—that is punishing the perpetrators, particularly outgoing president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, her minions in the military, foremost of whom is Jovito Palparan”, she added.

Mary Guy Portajada is the daughter of Armando Portajada who was abducted in 1987. Since the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, close to 2,000 Filipinos has been disappeared. Under the term of the outgoing administration of Gloria Arroyo a total of 205 victims of enforced disappearances had been documented. Not one victim or family has attained justice and no perpetrator has been punished.

The relatives of victims of enforced disappearance from the martial law era up to the Arroyo regime gathered today to make the appeal, 30 days before Aquino will take oath as president. The press conference was held at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

Aya Santos, Deputy Secretary General of 'Desaparecidos', daughter of missing Leo Velasco

“We are urging the next president to make good his promises to be the complete opposite of the outgoing repressive and corrupt Gloria Arroyo. We call upon him not to repeat this dark episode of our nation’s history,” Mary Guy said.

The Desaparecidos said they will also ask for a dialogue with the president-elect to make the following appeal:

  • Surface the victims of enforced disappearance, from the Marcos regime to the Arroyo regime o Open the military camps and safehouses for searches by independent search teams o Expedite the investigation of all the cases of disappearances
  • Prosecute Mrs. Arroyo and the officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who were responsible for the disappearance of 205 persons from 2001 to 2009.

    Erlinda Cadapan (left) and Oscar Empeño (right), parents of missing Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.

  • Stop the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya which was responsible for the political killings, disappearances and other human rights violations; and ensure that no similar counterinsurgency program will again be employed by the state
  • Indemnify the families of desaparecidos as well as the victims who survived • Enact a law that will criminalize enforced disappearance
  • Ratify the UN’s International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances
  • Resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and implement the Comprehensive Agreement for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which considers enforced disappearance as a human rights violation.###

Click link for the video Road to Desaparecidos by JL Burgos

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