KARAPATAN decries NTF-ELCAC’s continued victim-blaming, attacks vs two women environmental defenders

KARAPATAN deplores continuing attempts by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to vilify Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano, both survivors of abduction, torture, enforced disappearance, coercion and other crimes perpetrated by state agents.

Jonila and Jhed are environmental activists and community organizers affiliated with AKAP KA-Manila Bay who were kidnapped in Orion, Bataan on September 2, 2023 and held for 17 days in safehouses and a military camp before turning the tables on their abductors at a press conference organized by the NTF-ELCAC to present them as “surrenderees.”

The ongoing deliberations at the Court of Appeals on Jhed and Jonila’s petition for the privilege of the writ of amparo and habeas data have been used by the NTF-ELCAC, led by its legal cluster, to further its victim-blaming spree in order to cover up and justify their modus of abducting, torturing and coercing activists to disaffiliate from their organizations, misrepresent their advocacies and inform on their colleagues.

Since their surfacing, Jhed, Jonila and their families have been threatened and harassed by the NTF-ELCAC. The current threats to Jonila and Jhed’s lives, security and liberty are exemplified by the NTF-ELCAC’s continuing lies at the CA hearings and their filing of trumped-up and malicious charges against the two activists.

KARAPATAN believes that it is imperative that privilege of the writs be granted, that the perpetrators of Jhed and Jonila’s kidnapping, torture and enforced disappearance are held accountable for their crimes, and that the NTF-ELCAC should be abolished. #