MANILA, Philippines — Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran said that it’s becoming apparent that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’ top brass want the family and supporters of abducted activist Jay-Jay Burgos to think that their search for Burgos has come to a dead-end. Beltran denounced the AFP and AFP chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon and Executive secretary Eduardo Ermita for their statements that there is no viable proof that the military is behind Burgos’ abduction.
“It’s an outrage that these officials of the military and Malacanang simply want Burgos’ family and supporters to believe that the military is not behind Jay-Jay’s abduction. Ermita is being vague and evasive, and has resorted to pointing fingers at phantom trouble makers instead of focusing on the most likely suspects within the AFP. There are no other suspects, there’s no one else who bears motives to kidnap an activist. The military is responsible for this. There will be no rest until Jay-Jay is surfaced,” he said.
The 56th Infantry Battalion based in Norzagaray has come under suspicion after it was discovered that the license plates used by the suspects in their vehicle when they abducted Burgos were traced to an impounded vehicle at the battalion’s headquarters.
“Esperon is foot-dragging on this, and Ermita is already absolving the military from responsibility. All in all, tAlready this is a high-profile case, but the government is being deliberately slow and evasive. Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the meantime continues to place her full trust and confidence in the military and this alone threatens the chances of Burgos ever surfacing,” he said.
Beltran said that the record of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration when it comes to political killings and abductions speak for itself. “Now there are substantial leads that are surfacing that could reveal what exactly happened to the young Burgos and point to his current circumstances. Why is the military refusing to give genuine aid to investigate and follow up on these leads? Esperon’s dismissive attitude is so callous and heartless, it’s criminal. He is protecting Burgos’ abductors, and this is possibly what stands between finding Burgos alive and him (Burgos) becoming yet another statistic in the list of the involuntarily disappeared,” he said.
Beltran ran for senator in the 1987 senatorial elections under the banner of the Partido ng Bayan and Jay-Jay Burgos’ father, press freedom champion Joe Burgos was one of his fellow candidates, along with Nelia Sancho, Jaime Tadeo, Bernabe Buscayno and Romeo Capulong. #
****** INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to firstname.lastname@example.org. Davao Today reserves the right to edit or refuse material for publication. *****