Army says 2 activists' abduction claim a plot to discredit military

Army says 2 activists’ abduction claim may be plot to discredit military

/ 04:43 PM September 20, 2023

Army says 2 activists' abduction claim may be plot to discredit military

Environmental activists Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano accuse the military of kidnapping them in a press conference organized by the National Task Force to End Local Communists.
Armed Conflict on Tuesday. (SCREENGRAB FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE of NTF-Elcac)

MANILA, Philippines — The two environmental activists’ claim that soldiers abducted them could be a plot to discredit the military, Philippine Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Jhed Tamano, and Jonila Castro, during a press conference organized by the anti-communist task force itself, claimed that soldiers abducted them. 

The police and military earlier reported that Tamano and Castro surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 70th Infantry Battalion in Doña Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan on September 12.


But the activists insisted they were abducted by armed men in Orion, Bataan, on September 2.


“This is just one angle, ang sinasabi nating plot na plano nila i-discredit, but we’re not discrediting other factors kung bakit nagkaroon ng ganoong statement ang dalawa,” Trinidad told reporters in a phone interview.

(This is just one angle, this plot that they concocted to discredit us, but we are not discrediting other factors as to why both made that statement.)

“Wala naman tayong masamang ginawa … Malalaman ng ating mga mamamayan ang katotohanan,” he added.

(We did nothing wrong; the people will know the truth.)

Trinidad also said that Tamano and Castro may have been used as “bait” to the military.

“On the plot, nakikita natin na parang pinain. This is just one angle na ating makita—ipinain na mag-surrender pero babaliktarin later on,” Trinidad said.


(They may have been used as bait for us. This is one of the angles we see — they were used as bait, so they surrendered only to recant their statements later.)

“Naging maganda ang cooperation at coordination initially, then at the last part, biglang bumaligtad. Kami ay nagulat regarding that.”

(The cooperation and coordination were initially good, but in the end, they reversed their story. We were shocked.)

Tamano and Castro said they signed the affidavit under duress, which Trinidad also disputed, noting the presence of lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) during the procedure.

“Sila po ay hinarap sa PAO for their statements and wala naman tayong nakikitang sila ay tinakot,” Trinidad said.

(They appeared before PAO for their statements, and we did not see any indications that they were threatened.)


Environmental activists say they were abducted by soldiers

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TAGS: Activist, Army, Military, NTF-ELCAC, Police

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