Protection order for previously abducted environmental activists in danger

On February 21, 2024, the Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippines (OSG) filed a motion to lift a protection order for two environmental activists, Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano. The protection order was issued by the Supreme Court at the beginning of February because the activists felt threatened. The OSG argued that the protection order hindered the police from serving an ongoing arrest warrant for the activists for alleged defamation.

In October 2023, the Philippine Department of National Defence charged the two activists for alleged perjury. According to their statements, Castro and Tamano were abducted by the Philippine military in September 2023 and forced to make a false statement. More than two weeks after their disappearance, the military presented them to the public in a press conference. The military claimed that the two had sought protection and admitted their membership of the rebel group New People’s Army. However, the activists explained that the military had abducted them and forced them to make a false confession. In the meantime, the perjury charges were dismissed.

The Department of Justice issued at the request of the military defamation charges against the activists in December 2023. Despite the Supreme Court’s protection order, Castro and Tamano reported that they were still subject to surveillance by state authorities. They are hoping for a permanent protection order as part of an ongoing case at the Court of Appeal.


Photo © Raffy Lerma

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