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Opinion

Tell us where the desaparecidos are

READER'S VIEWS - The Freeman

“Surface the desaparecidos, tell us where are they, and we will be at peace. Peace will be not far from reach if they who implemented enforced disappearances will be brought to justice.”

Thus said families of desaparecidos in the yearly gathering held every November 2, All Souls Day, to remember and call for justice for victims of enforced disappearances.

”We have nowhere to offer candles and flowers, so we do it here for the world to see, and let the people know that we continue to search for them, and we will not stop at seeking justice,” said Linda Cadapan, one of the mothers of the missing UP students.

The families also gathered to celebrate the recent victory of putting Jovito Palparan behind bars, after the Malolos Regional Trial Court in Bulacan sentenced the former military general for life imprisonment, for charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention of missing UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.

“Now that he’s in jail, and we hope he doesn’t live like a prince there, we vow to continue going after other officials and persons accountable for enforced disappearances. We will not stop at Palparan, because implementors of abductions and rights violations are out there in higher positions of government,” said Cadapan.

The group said the likes of General Eduardo Año, former Army intelligence chief and now secretary of DILG, has yet to be made accountable for the abduction and disappearance of Jonas Burgos.

“Those who did the abductions, and made our loved ones disappear from the public’s sight still wear their uniforms and are out there terrorizing the people. Those who were former military officials, and the ones who implemented bloody counter-insurgency programs are in office and in Duterte’s Cabinet. We expect no justice from this government because Duterte keeps these monsters by his side, giving them more power than ever before,” said Cadapan.

The group also said while enforced disappearances have not reached hundreds as in the previous regimes, they cannot say that less is never better, as they have witnessed how thousands fell to killings, including those related in the drug war and the continuing attacks against activists and people.

Desaparecidos appealed to the people to continue helping them with the search, especially for justice.

“We cannot be in peace if we continue to leave in fear and uncertainty. Our missing loved ones once hoped that things will be better for the poorest of our people. It is our task now to live up to this aspiration. As long as attacks against the people continue, we have every reason to gather and cry out for justice,” ended Cadapan.

Karapatan

KAREN EMPEñO

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