Grant amparo, habeas data petition for abduction survivors Castro and Tamano ASAP, Karapatan asks SC

Photo by Jam Sta. Rosa/Agence France-Presse

October 29, 2023

A month after surfaced environmental defenders Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro filed a petition for the writs of amparo and habeas data, human rights alliance Karapatan renewed its call for the Supreme Court to grant the petition at the soonest possible time. 

“We seriously hope that the Supreme Court steps in immediately to safeguard the lives, liberty and security of Jhed and Jonila. They need all the protection they can get against threats and harassment, especially that bullies in the military, the Department of National Defense, and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), are hell-bent to save face and cover up the rights violations they have committed against these two brave young women,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.  

According to Palabay, the threats, harassment and intimidation against Tamano and Castro did not end with their release from military custody, making their petition for the writs of amparo and habeas data an urgent process. 

“More than a month after they declared that they were abducted and held in military custody for weeks, Tamano and Castro have been at the receiving end of threats, intimidation, and a harassment case from their abductors. It is appalling how these military bullies are ganging up on Jhed and Jonila to show that they can use their authority with impunity,” said Palabay. 

Earlier, Karapatan condemned the filing of perjury charges against Tamano and Castro, by the commanding officer of the 70th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, Ronnel dela Cruz. 

“With their twisted minds to counter the truth told by Jhed and Jonila, they make convoluted false claims and cry perjury. It’s the same garbage they’ve thrown at us when we also sought legal protection on the red-tagging and harassment against Karapatan, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Gabriela,” Palabay said. 

Similar charges were filed by former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., against officers of Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Gabriela in 2019, after they filed a petition of writ of Amparo and habeas data at the Supreme Court. 

“We appeal to the Supreme Court to uphold its mandate and obligation to protect the lives, security and liberty of individuals facing threats from State forces by granting Jonila and Jhed’s petition,” Karapatan said.