Disappeared‎ > ‎

Jonas Burgos

posted Aug 4, 2011, 1:59 PM by Diego S. Maranan   [ updated Aug 8, 2011, 11:16 AM ]

Jonas Burgos, a farmer and activist and son of the late press freedom icon and newspaper publisher Jose Burgos, was having lunch at a Quezon City mall in April 28, 2007 when he was forcibly taken.At the time of his forced disappearance, Jonas was 37 years old.

Recently, witnesses to the abduction surfaced and gave their testimonies, pointing to members of the Armed Forces as the perpetuators of the crime. Witnesses specifically identified 1st Lt. Harry Baliaga as one of Burgos’s abductors. Baliaga is now a major in the Philippine Army. He is also a respondent to a Supreme Court order on the case of Burgos.

In a resolution dated July 5, 2011, the Supreme Court directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines to produce Jonas Burgos. Mrs. Burgos said the SC decision supports the criminal complaint she filed before the Department of Justice last June. Arbitrary detention charges were filed against 1st Lt. Harry Baliaga Jr., Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, Col. Eduardo Ano, and other members of the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion, the unit that allegedly carried out the abduction and disappearance.

Meanwhile, Commodore Miguel Rodriguez, AFP deputy chief of staff for civil military operations , maintained that the military was not behind the abduction. Mrs. Editha Burgos, the mother of Jonas, said that their denial is expected but she remains resolute in pursuing the case of her son. She also expressed frustration that former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was dropped as a respondent by the High Court.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) called on Pres. Noynoy Aquino to end his silence in regard to human rights violations, extrajudicial killings and disappearances. The group observed that Noynoy’s inaction has caused the extrajudicial killing of 45 individuals during his first year in office.