Tell it to SunStar: Kin of ‘desaparecidos’ echo call for justice, lambast gov’t ‘apathy’

for Justice), decried the “state’s apparent disregard for accountability and justice” as they remember the memories of their loved ones on All Souls’ Day, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.

“We commemorate the memories and the bravery of our friends and family members who were forcibly taken from us despite not having any graves to offer candles and flowers, nor any idea of their whereabouts. We also honor and remember the deceased relatives of desaparecidos who tirelessly demanded for justice and sought answers about their loved ones,” said Erlinda Cadapan, Desaparecidos national chairperson.

According to the group’s data, there are around 1,900 victims of enforced disappearance since Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s dictatorial rule, four of which were abducted under the current Marcos administration—unionist Alipio “Ador” Juat, community organizer Elizabeth Magbanua and peasant organizers Elgene Mungcal and Elena Cortez. All of them have yet to be found.

“We strongly echo the call to surface Ador, Elizabeth and all our loved ones. We fear that such cases will increase under this administration, considering its penchant for human rights violations and disinformation,” Cadapan said.

The group deplored the government’s obvious disinterest in resolving cases of enforced disappearances through the years.

“Cases of enforced disappearances still continue despite the enactment of Republic Act 10353 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act in 2012. Furthermore, the Philippine government has not signed and ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. This, together with the recent cases of abduction and the absence of action in solving other pending cases, evidently shows the state’s apathy towards us and its palpable lack of commitment to justice and accountability,” Cadapan said.

The Desaparecidos official said that despite such challenges, they will never give up on their quest to find their loved ones as well as in demanding justice.