This day marks the fourth year of Jonas Burgos' disappearance. Poet Butch Espere expressed his remembrance of his comrade through a moving poem.

A Placard for Jonas

by: Butch S. Espere

(Note: This April 28 will be the fourth year of the abduction of Jonas Burgos by elements of AFP-ISAFP. It was a May 1st rally at Liwasang Bonifacio when a friend from Bulacan broke the bad news to us who were huddled under a tree for some break. It was then the height of extra-judicial killings and abductions under the Arroyo regime. It was a time when every activist in the ND movement had a feeling that anyone could be a victim yet was not prepared to believe that it could happen to Jonas, son of a pillar of press freedom in the country. His abduction made every one feel the military's message “wala kaming sasantohin basta gustohin namin”. Four years since, the Burgos family has been clinging to the hope that Jonas is still alive and this poem is meant to light the flames of that hope.)

we still could remember

how it was whispered

while we took refuge

under the shade of trees

at Liwasang Bonifacio

away from the crowd

the words were stilettos

swishing in the still air

stabbing us dead in silence

helpless as we fought

the sudden, all too sudden

surge of dread and disbelief

we raked the city for what remains

of life strewn in the park amid angry

May 1st manifestos vainly trying

to spot your shadow in the blur

of passing jeepneys but failing that

we sought you in the ordinariness

of the things you left behind: a garden

of organic flowers in unknown fields

the fire you lit in the dark that kept

burning in the heart of farmers in vigil

for your return and a gallant mother

who refused to shed a tear in public

since then, life's been a street

where we walked on the narrow

colliding lanes of hope and rage

while humanity in all drudgery

do their daily acts over and over

again: we still drink black coffee

in the morning, smoke a cigarette

or two as butter-fingers flipped

the papers for some happy news

and even when it rains we still go

to rallies to scream at the beast, "You

can not chain Prometheus for eternity!”


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