The family of missing activist Jonas Burgos released a picture of Jonas taken by his military captors, again proving that state security agents were behind the abduction in April 28, 2007.
The picture (above) shows a man, with deep circles around his eyes, in white shirt and a scarf around his neck, photographed against a cement wall. The Burgos family positively identified the man in the picture as Jonas.
“While the family and friends of Jonas unwaveringly pursued the truth (about the disappearance of Jonas), confident in God’s mercy, never before throughout the search has been this kind of evidence been uncovered,” stated Edita Burgos, mother of Jonas.
The Burgos family released the picture as part of a special urgent motion filed before the Supreme Court to compel the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as the Aquino government, to reveal the whereabouts of Jonas and bring to justice the military perpetrators.
When asked about the source of the picture, Edita Burgos said it was given by a “friend of a friend, who is very reliable.” She also revealed that they are in possession of other documents that would further implicate military officials directly responsible for Jonas’ abduction.
Included in the documents — all of which are said to be classified Army documents — are an “After Apprehension Report”, as well as a “Psycho Social Processing Report” and a supposed “autobiography” of Jonas.
She said the picture and the other documents were passed on to them “a few weeks ago.” Edita Burgos refused to elaborate on the nature of the source of the documents, saying that doing so would endanger the life of the source.
The release of the picture comes on the heels of a Court of Appeals decision publicized on March 27 that said the abduction of Jonas Burgos was a case of enforced disappearance, with the Philippine Army as culprit.
The release of the photo is also only the latest in a series of revelations of evidences pinpointing the Philippine Army. Most of these evidences, submitted before the Court of Appeals, came from the Burgos family. The family has long lamented the lack of support from government agencies in investigating leads of the case.
Edita Burgos, meanwhile, said that the new evidence is a “special gift” to Jonas, who had his 43rd birthday last March 29.
“We offer prayers for those involved that they may be enlightened and they would have the courage to say the truth,” said Edita, who is also chair of Desaparecidos, organization of relatives of victims of enforced disappearances, and wife of Philippine press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr.
On April 28, 2007, witnesses saw Jonas abducted by armed men in a mall in Quezon City. They heard Jonas shout “Aktibista lang ako!” (I’m just an activist!), while being dragged away. Police and independent investigation, which traced the car plates of the vehicle used in the abduction, also revealed that the vehicle was a military-issued one.
It was revealed that the vehicle was seen in a military camp in Central Luzon.
The human rights organization, Karapatan, asked the Aquino government to punish the military officers and soldiers identified to be involved in the disappearance of Jonas.
Among them is Major Harry Baliaga, who was under the 56th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. 56th IB was once under the command of the notorious Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr.
Palparan is also accused of various human rights violations, and is currently in hiding after a court ordered his arrest for involvement in the disappearance of student activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in Central Luzon.
Karapatan also called for a full disclosure of other cases of enforced disappearances that involved military officers, including the current AFP chief of staff, Gen. Eduardo Año.
“We stand by the Burgos family in this battle. Their strength and courage is an inspiration to us and families of victims of human rights violations,” said Aya Santos of Desaparecidos.