Philippines army told: Probe Burgo’s disappearance first

May. 04, 2007

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr.
(PDP-Laban) today rebuked the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) for its instant denial that soldiers
have nothing to do with the disappearance of
agriculturist and activist Jonas Joseph Burgos even
before it could thoroughly investigate the matter.

Pimentel said the AFPs official statement clearing
itself of involvement in the abduction suffers from
credibility in the face of available information,
including testimonies of witnesses, that he was
snatched by eight military-looking men while having
lunch inside the Ever Gotesco mall in Commonwealth
Avenue April 28.

He criticized the AFP for giving the standard reply
that soldiers are not involved in the involuntary
disappearance and summary killings of political
activists even if available circumstantial and direct
evidence points to the military as the perpetrators of
these atrocities.

Pimentel said this has happened in many cases of
abductions and disappearances of activists and leaders
of militant leftist groups such as Karen Empeno and
Sherlyn Cadapan both students of the University of the
Philippines who were taken away by armed men in a
boarding house in Hagonoy, Bulacan last November.

He said the abduction of Jonas Joseph Burgos, son of
the late journalist and freedom-fighter Burgos, Jr.
illustrate once more the cruel and despicable acts
that the powers-that-be and its armed enforcers are
capable of doing against their perceived enemies or
threats to their privileged positions.

Pimentel called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
to launch a no-nonsense effort to look for Jonas
Joseph Burgos and save his life if she does not want
to further alienate and disappoint the members of the
media who have been deeply disturbed about this
abduction case.

I ask President Arroyo, the National Bureau of
Investigation, Philippine National Police, Department
of Justice and Department of National Defense to help
rescue Jonas Joseph Burgos, son of Jose and Edith
Burgos from his captors. Jonas is a law abiding
farmer. There is absolutely no reason why he should be
abducted, he said.

Pimentel also bemoaned that the lackluster efforts of
the Arroyo government and law enforcement agencies in
solving the spate of political and media killings has
only emboldened the death squads and their handlers to
carry on their evil business.

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