July 21, 2010
Reference: Lorena P. Santos, Deputy Secretary General 09294414270/ 434 2837
Families of the disappeared will join People’s SONA to call on to PNoy to SURFACE desaparecidos
“Time is running out,” Lorena P. Santos, Deputy Secretary General of Families of the Disappeared for Justice tells President Aquino. “Please understand us for not giving the President a honeymoon period for time is running out for our missing loved ones,” Santos says. “For this, we, the families of desaparecidos will join the People’s State of the Nation Address,” Ms. Santos announces a few days before President Noynoy Aquino’s SONA.
Santos is the daughter of missing Leo Velasco, a consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines for the peace process. Velasco was abducted last February 19, 2007 at Cagayan de Oro City.
“Along with other progressive organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance), we will put forward our call for justice and for the immediate surfacing of victims of enforced disappearances especially under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime,” Santos says. “We will be along Commonwealth Avenue to listen to PNoy’s Address and hear what he has to say on the issue of human rights,” Santos said.
“We have heard President Aquino say that he will put closure to political killings, but only in front of delegates of the European Union. Why not tell that to the victims’ families and officially order the Armed Forces of the Philippines to do so?” Santos asks.
“We are hoping the President to say so in his SONA,” Santos laments.
While preparing for the People’s SONA, Lorena remembers her schoolmate Karen Empeño, one of the missing students of the University of the Philippines. Empeño was abducted midnight of June 26, 2006 together with colleague Sherlyn Cadapan and farmer Manuel Merino. “She (Karen Empeño) is 26 years old tomorrow. For the past four years, her family has been celebrating her birthdays even without her,” sadly Santos reveals. “The Empeño family still hopes that they will see Karen soon,” Santos continues.
“Mr. President, for families of the disappeared, the word SOON means NOW because we might not get to see them alive,” Santos ends.###