Desaparecidos kin join Burgos family in seeking legal remedy to surface Jonas

Families of victims of enforced disappearance from the human rights organization Desaparecidos came to the Court of Appeals (CA) today to show support for the Burgos family at the first hearing of the petition for habeas corpus for missing activist Jonas Burgos.

Among those who trooped to the CA were the relatives of desaparecidos Leopoldo Ancheta, Cesar Batralo, Romulos Robinos, Gloria Soco and Sherlyn Cadapan.

The families of abovementioned desaparecidos, except for Batralo, sought judicial intervention to immediately surface their loved ones who were abducted by state security forces in its conduct of the national internal security plan Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).

Erlinda Cadapan, mother of missing UP student Sherlyn said “We are disappointed that the judiciary had not been able to remedy our situation and we are outraged that the government has continued to conceal the whereabouts of our loved ones.”

Mrs. Cadapan said, “We challenged the CA to exercise its judicial and civilian power over the military and compel state forces to surface Jonas and other victims of enforced disappearance.”

Beth Calubad, whose husband Rogelio and son Gabriel were abducted on 17 June 2006, came straight from the habeas corpus petition hearing at the Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Manila to show support for the Burgoses.  The court finally heard her case today after she filed her petition a year ago.

Mrs. Calubad said, “We come here in solidarity with the Burgos family.  It’s been a year since government operatives took my husband and son away from me.  It’s been two months since Jonas was taken from his family.  How many more will be sacrificed at the altar of Mrs. Arroyo’s war of terror?”

Philippine human rights organization Karapatan documented 183 victims of enforced disappearance under the Arroyo presidency.  Jonas was the 15th victim of enforced disappearance out of the 18 desaparecidos in the first half of the year.

Witnesses' testimonies and evidence in other abduction cases point to the involvement of state security forces, use of government resources and facilities.

Human rights organization asserts that the Arroyo regime and its the counter-insurgency program OBL 1 and 2 is behind the spate of political killings and enforced disappearances.

“We dare Mrs. Arroyo, if she sincerely wants to resolve Jonas's disappearance: Madam, order your military to surface Jonas, and all the other desaparecidos.” Mrs. Calubad concluded.###