Inside the belly of the shark
READERS’ VIEWS - Rene F. Antiga (The Freeman) - April 19, 2013 - 12:00am

Jonas Burgos was an agriculturist who was forcibly abducted by still unidentified group in Ever-Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City more than six years ago. He is the son of the late Jose “Joe” Burgos Jr., publisher of Malaya, the only ‘mosquito’ newspaper that dared to expose Marcos’ excesses during martial law. For his effort to raise the banner of free press, he was accorded the title “icon of press freedom.” The fate of the icon’s sibling, meanwhile, remained unknown until this day.

There is no iota of doubt that those responsible for the abduction are well-entrenched group which has the capability to stage a daring operation even in broad daylight and in front of many people. Subsequent investigations pointed out to the military as responsible for the abduction. The planning, execution and the methods employed bore the trademark of a military operation carried out by its intelligence unit. The operation was executed with clockwork precision and in military fashion.

The military was quick to deny the allegation and instead pointed an accusing finger to the New People’s Army (NPA) as responsible for the crime. This allegation pales in the face as it was found out later that Jonas Burgos’ name appeared in the military’s order of battle (OB).  This means he was the subject of manhunt. The basis of the intelligence report was that Jonas was actively working for some peasant groups in Bulacan using his expertise in organic farming. Unfortunately, these peasant organizations were suspected fronts of the communist revolutionary movement. That’s where the connection lies.

Granting that it was the handiwork of the NPA as what the military claimed, the basic assumption would be that he turned against his comrades and he was meted out the death penalty for his treachery. The NPA, a ragtag band, simply lacks the resources and the capability to launch a tactical operation in highly urbanized area much more in front of many people in broad daylight.  If the NPA was after him, the logical conclusion would be that he turned asset to the military. But this is a remote possibility considering that his name was listed in the military’s order of battle.  There’s the rub. It has no sense whatsoever of being a military asset and at the same time a subject of an OB. It defies logic and common sense.     

Now, new evidence has cropped up pinpointing the military’s involvement in the case.  The mother of the victim has already submitted the evidence to the Supreme Court. The piece of evidence is actually a military intelligence report that contains the names of some officers and enlisted men involved in the abduction. The military has promised to produce the suspects during hearings. The intelligence report is the key to the resolution of the case.  If not for a conscience-stricken officer who sang like a canary, the case of Jonas Burgos will go down as one of those unsolved cases of disappearance in the country.  This only goes to show that the much-vaunted military secret is not impenetrable after all. No amount of cover up will not be exposed sooner or later.

More than six years have lapsed since his abduction. Time is running out and the chance of survival is nil. The most probable conclusion is that he’s already a goner. The only question is where his remains are kept. Jonas, as in the biblical character, was swallowed inside the belly of the shark.



  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with