(Note: At past noon of April 28, 2007, six people barged into the Quezon City fastfood where farmer-activist Jonas Burgos was taking lunch and seized him, shocking not just the mall goers but a nation that thought such scenarios had long gone with martial law’s lifting. The son of the late IPI-declared World Press Freedom Hero of the 20th century Jose Burgos Jr., Jonas would become the poster boy for desaparecidos in the country. He remains missing to this day. His mother, a Lay Carmelite, wrote the letter below to mark the grim event.)
VP LENI ROBREDO: AN OPEN LETTER
April 28, 2022
Dear VP Leni:
Greetings of peace and grace! At this critical point of history in our country, the Philippines, I believe that each Filipino parent has that God-given opportunity to act concretely to secure a better future for their children.
I am one such parent and I choose to act. Unlike, most parents though, I have lost a son to enforced disappearance. My son Jonas Burgos, was taken in April 28, 2007.
We commemorate his 15th anniversary of abduction with the same vigor and determination. Yet, though with sadness, in the spirit of joining our will to God’s will and accepting reality as it is, we look at this year’s commemoration in the context of the present socio-political situation in our country and endeavor to open new doors. This perspective has given us hope. Hope to find the truth, hope to obtain justice, hope to be able to continue our response to our baptismal promise to ‘work for justice and peace in the world’ … by helping the poor, the voiceless, and the oppressed, now fill our hearts.
We have been praying for this hope to come. Drawing confidence from what I have heard about your track record, your values from your speeches, and interviews, and seeing how you are drawn to the least served people in our country and most of all knowing that above all you are a caring and loving mother to your children, I take courage in asking you to please be the voice of the voiceless.
The victims of enforced disappearance were taken away from the protection of the law, their whereabouts are kept unknown to their families. They are the poorest among the poor because they are voiceless.
I am confident that you will open your heart, the heart of a mother to this mother and to all relatives of victims of enforced disappearance and be the VOICE OF THE VOICELESS by putting the issue of enforced disappearance and the search for justice in your electoral agenda.
With prayers for an honest and peaceful elections and with God’s grace, the victory of the good, the true and the deserving, I place this my appeal in the hands of your and my patroness, Mahal na Ina.
EDITA TRONQUED BURGOS, OCDS Mother of Jonas Burgos