Families call to surface 11 desaparecidos under Marcos Jr., continue search for justice with their “undying hope”

“We gather on November 2 of every year, not in mourning, but with the undying hope that one day, we will not have to light candles and offer flowers in the absence of our loved ones, because this day will cease to become a day to remember the disappeared, but become a day of justice.”

Thus said rights groups Desaparecidos (Families of the Disappeared for Justice) and Karapatan as they held the yearly gathering of victims of enforced disappearances on November 2 titled Day of Remembrance for the Disappeared to renew calls to surface the 11 desaparecidos under the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government, and all desaparecidos under previous regimes since the Marcos Sr. dictatorship.

“With no news on their whereabouts, no knowledge of whether they are alive or dead, families come together on this day, specifically to demand a stop to the crime of enforced disappearances. Today is a testament that there are families who continue the search,” said Edita Burgos, mother of disappeared farmer-activist Jonas Burgos who was abducted in 2007 and remains missing to date.

The groups demanded that the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government and its state forces answer all inquiries, open the camps and secret detention centers, and respond to the plea of families to declare the whereabouts of the 11 victims of enforced disappearances, whose families and supporters have searched for them in vain.

“At the same time,” said Burgos, “we continue to call to demand that all desaparecidos since the time of the Marcos dictatorship be surfaced. If there is no holiday for abductors and perpetrators, neither is there a holiday for the families of the disappeared, who will leave no stone unturned in finding their loved ones,” said Burgos.

To date, there are 11 victims of enforced disappearances under Marcos Jr.:

Elgene Mungcal

Ma. Elena Pampoza

Ariel Badiang

Renel delos Santos

Denald Laloy Mialen

Lyn Grace Martullinas

Dexter Capuyan

Gene Roz Jamil de Jesus

Deah Lopez

Lee Sudario

Norman Ortiz

At the gathering, letters written by the families were read, conveying their messages to the desaparecidos. The families continue to hope that “one day, they will be returned to their loved ones.”

Survivors of abduction survivors Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro also expressed their solidarity to the families, and told them to hold on to hope that their loved ones will do everything they can to survive, and be surfaced.

“We warn Marcos Jr. that by committing the same crimes as his dictator father, he and his government will be equally accountable and face the echoing demand for justice,” said Concepcion Empeño, mother of desaparecido Karen Empeño, who disappeared in 2006.

“As long as we gather on All Souls Day to remember the desaparecidos, we are also holding on to hope that enforced disappearances will stop, and perpetrators of one of the worst violations of human rights will be brought to justice,” said Burgos.#


Edita Burgos, Desaparecidos, 0917-8312362
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580