From one mother to another, Risa Hontiveros has expressed admiration for Edita Burgos’ quiet fortitude—and unshakable faith—in the search for her son Jonas, missing since 2007 and believed abducted by certain operatives of the military.
“She has been so faithful in this struggle. Hindi siya bumitiw sa paghahanap sa kanyang mahal na anak,” Hontiveros, a mother of four and a widow, said.
“As women, some of us as mothers, you just have to give her the highest admiration,” added Hontiveros.
Since he went missing in April 2007 after being abducted at a Quezon City mall by men believed to belong to two units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, no evidence has emerged to show Jonas is still alive. On March 18, 2013, almost six years later, the Court of Appeals recognized his abduction as an enforced disappearance and held Maj. Harry Baliaga Jr. as one of those responsible for it.
However painful and seemingly futile her search, and in the absence of proof of life, Mrs. Burgos, wife of the late press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr. has persisted “without hatred in her heart. Napakahirap gawin nun, to maintain this fight until now,” Hontiveros said.
After being dashed for so long, Mrs. Burgos’ hopes rose last month with the appearance of new evidence apparently leading her search to the abductors. Hontiveros said that the courts should not ignore the evidence, urging “highest court in the land as well as the Court of Appeals to revisit the Burgos case.”
Being a mother to a young family, whose oldest child, a boy, is 20 years old, she has empathized with the Burgos matriarch.
“The latest development is encouraging,” she said. “Due process will and must continue at all times. I trust the President to continue to exercise his best judgment in ensuring that justice will be served regardless of whoever is involved.”
At a press briefing of Team PNoy in Makati on Tuesday, Hontiveros and fellow administration senatorial candidate Bam Aquino said the government must apply the law equally and treat none of the suspected abductors as “sacred cows.”
“Kung sino man ang mapatunayang may kasalanan, nasa posisyon pa iyan o wala, dapat lang parusahan. We should immediately file the necessary charges against those responsible for the disappearance of Jonas Burgos,” Hontiveros said.#