EDITA BURGOS | 'The courage to tell the truth is my prayer for all this Lent'
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Edita Burgos, mother of abducted activist-farmer Jonas Burgos, released the following statement on Wednesday after the Court of Appeals officially declared Jonas the victim of an "enforced disappearance" carried out by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on April 28, 2007:
Today, Holy Wednesday, the day our family traditionally made the Way of the Cross around the farm when Jonas' father, Joe Burgos, was still with us, I have received news of the decision of the Court of Appeals on our petition for the Writ of Habeas Corpus and the Writ of Amparo in relation to the disappearance of my son, Jonas Burgos.
This Lent would have been a different observation because the family has decided to go home to my home province to be with my brother who is celebrating his 30th ordination anniversary. But as it is and as He wills it, the crosses can't be left behind. We carry them and we live with them, and if for a moment we forget, we are reminded.
What a big reminder, this decision of the Court of Appeals. And just two days before Jonas' 43rd birthday.
The decision reads among others "...declaring Major Harry Baliaga Jr. responsible for the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, and ... the Armed Forces of the Philippines and elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly the Philippine Army, accountable for the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos."
The family thanks the Court of Appeals (All Glory to God) for its thorough and comprehensive appreciation of all the facts, testimonies and documents submitted to them in the course of the more than 4 years hearing. We will thank them through prayers.
We pray that the recognition by the court that the abduction of my son Jonas as an enforced disappearance and thus covered by the rule of the Writ of Amparo would result in the proper and concerned authorities to make available to us, all the documents they have on Jonas, make accessible to us all the officers who had anything to do with the abduction, or who had knowledge of the abduction and grant us access to camps and safe houses that could give us leads to the whereabouts of Jonas.
In short I earnestly pray that this decision would lead us to Jonas and to the names of those involved so that justice may (finally) be served. The ultimate measure of success is our recovery of Jonas.
I appeal to Major Harry Baliaga to cooperate with the courts. He is an enlisted person and must uphold the law. He has the opportunity to make things right by saying the whole truth. Here is a singular chance, perhaps from the Lord, to have the courage to reveal the details related to my son's disappearance. The courage to tell the truth is my prayer for all this Lent.
Thanks be to God.