Activists awarded writs of amparo and habeas data, thank their supporters

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This article is available in Pilipino

Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano thanked everyone who supported them and actively campaigned for the Supreme Court to grant them the writs of amparo and habeas data. “This is a big step forward in fulfilling the request for protection and providing information being kept by the government about us,” the two activists said in their joint statement.

Castro and Tamano were abducted on September 2, 2023 and secretly detained for two weeks. In the press conference where the AFP and NTF-Elcac were supposed to present them as “surrendered” Red fighters, they bravely exposed the abduction, torture and threats against them. Although the Department of Justice dismissed the perjury case filed against them by the 70th IB, the department recommended that they be charged with slandering the AFP.

“It is fitting that the petition made progress, because threats to our lives continued during the four months of waiting,” according to them. The surveillance and clear intimidation by state agents hindered their advocacies. Both Tamano and Castro are activists fighting destructive reclamation projects.

In addition to recognizing the ongoing threat to their lives, the court also recognized their case as one of enforced disappearance by agents of the state.

“(This) counters the Department of Justice’s recommendation to file case of Perjury and Grave Oral Defamation. Just as any branch of government should do, the Supreme Court paid attention and heard the active outcry of various groups and individuals about what really happened, contrary to the lies spread by NTF-ELCAC, AFP, and other agencies,” they said.

The court awarded a temporary “protection order”, and the petition for a Permanent Protection Order and Production Order is pending before the Court of Appeals.

“Our case is just a reflection of many other environmental defenders and citizens who are being attacked for fighting for human rights and the environment,” they said. They called for an end to all forms of attack against the people and for the demands for livelihood and human rights be heeded.

Pursuant to the order, all those named in the petition, and all entities it may mobilize or command, are prohibited from approaching the petitioners within one kilometer of their homes, schools, work or any current location, as well as their immediate families.

Meanwhile, in accordance with the granted writ of habeas data, Castro and Tamano have the right to access and have personal data collected by the state in relation to them be erased to protect their security and right to privacy.

AB: Activists awarded writs of amparo and habeas data, thank their supporters