Karapatan defends environment activists, tells NTF-Elcac to ‘stop projecting’
MANILA, Philippines — Human rights alliance Karapatan called on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) to “stop projecting themselves” onto other people in relation to the perjury complaint being planned against two pro-environment activists who said they were abducted by soldiers.
The planned filing of perjury raps against Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro was announced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday.
“Professional liars would often project themselves to other people, so tigilan niyo na po ‘yang projection na ‘yan (so stop that projection), NTF-Elcac,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay in a phone interview with INQUIRER.net on Thursday.
Palabay added that she also faced the same complaint before.
“Alam naman ng taong bayan kung sino ang nagsasabi ng katotohanan,” she said.
(People know who is telling the truth.)
“Sa dami ng fake news na pinalaganap ninyo [NTF-Elcac] na nagresulta sa real-world harm, I think the Filipino people know who are liars and terrorists,” she furthered.
(With the amount of fake news that you spread resulting in real-world harm, I think the Filipino people know who are liars and terrorists.)
Moreover, Palabay asserted that they have collected evidence supporting their claim that Tamano and Castro were indeed abducted, following the National Security Council (NSC)’s statement on September 17 urging progressive groups to present proof that would justify their abduction allegations.
Two days before the release of NSC’s statement, Karapatan, along with AKAP Ka Manila Bay, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, and Promotion for Church Peoples’ Response, posted a joint statement denouncing local authorities’ investigation results on the matter.
One of their concerns was a photo grab from closed-circuit television footage of the assumed abduction area showing the absence of a certain “ate” or woman who was supposed to accompany the activists in their surrendering.
“We have results from a fact-finding nation team, and we stand by the results of the facts and information that we gathered on the ground,” Palabay said.
She noted that they themselves went to Orion, Bataan, the place where activists Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro went missing two days after the incident.
“We were there September 4, 2023, at the same time the information [about the alleged kidnapping] was gathered from the residents of Barangay Lati themselves,” she added.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post on Wednesday, the human rights group called for the accountability of people who were involved in the “abduction, enforced disappearance, and fake surrender” of Tamano and Castro.
“The perpetrators, including those who conspired to cover up what really happened in Orion, Bataan on the night of September 2, 2023, should be charged, prosecuted, and punished to the full extent of the law,” it said.