MANILA, Philippines – Several families of “desaparecidos,” or the disappeared, held a rally in front of President Aquino’s residence at Times St., Quezon City on Saturday, calling on the administration to act on the missing cases.
The families brought with them photos of their missing relatives, with the caption “Surface!”
Lorena Santos, deputy secretary general of Desaparecidos, said missing victims continue to increase under the Aquino administration.
“While we do not want our ranks to increase in number, more families come to seek justice, including those abducted and disappeared under Aquino. This government has not made our search for justice easier, it perpetuates the cruel act of disappearance to more families every day,” she said in a statement.
The mother of missing University of the Philippines (UP) student Karen Empeño urged the President to sign the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, which aims to criminalize the “arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State.”
"While we have risked our lives for justice since day one, we want these atrocious acts to end now,” Empeño’s mother Concepcion said.
Empeño and another UP student, Sherlyn Cadapan, have been missing since 2006.
Charges have been filed against retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan and three other military officials allegedly involved in their disappearance.
Santos accused the Aquino government of being "all bark and no bite" on the case of Palparan, who has also gone missing.
The group also challenged government to punish military perpetrators of disappearances like Palparan.
Desaparecidos was a group formed in 1995 by families of the missing individuals under the Marcos and Aquino administrations.
The group now has majority of members whose relatives were disappeared under the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.