Activists Tamano, Castro seek Supreme Court protection

Environmental activists Tamano, Castro seek Supreme Court protection

/ 07:09 PM September 29, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — The environmental defenders Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro have asked the Supreme Court (SC) for protective writs from state security agents.

In their petition dated September 28, they urged the SC to issue writs of Amparo and Habeas Data and a temporary protection order.

A writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security has been violated or is threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or of a private individual or entity, while a writ of habeas data protects a person’s right to control information mainly when the information against the person was illegally obtained.


Tamano and Castro disappeared last September 2 in Orion, Bataan.


A fact-finding team was created by human rights and cause-oriented group advocates to determine what happened to the two. They have learned from witnesses that Tamano and Castro were dragged into an SUV by men wearing ski masks last September 2.

On September 15, Assistant Director General of the National Security Adviser Jonathan Malaya and Capt. Carlito Buco, the Chief Public Information Officer of the Bataan-PNP, announced at a press conference that the two environmental defenders surrendered to the military because they wanted to live an everyday life.

Four days later, the NTF-ELCAC had another press conference where they presented Castro and Tamano. During the press conference, the two maintained that they did not surrender but were abducted.

A day after, in an interview over ABS-CBN, Malaya said they would “expose all information they have on Jonila and Jhed” and said that they may file a perjury case against the two.

“Here, the totality of Petitioners’ circumstances convincingly reveals that their life and security were in danger and continue to be in danger,” read the petition. The two is represented by a group of human rights lawyer, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).

Compared to previous cases where the activists are being subject to surveillance, FLAG said Castro and Tamano “were already abducted unlawfully, and yet the State, through its agents, persists in saying that they [Castro and Tamano] embarrassed the NTF-ELCAC and the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], implicitly suggesting a threat of retaliation in an unspecified form.”


Through the writ of amparo, the expectation of impunity will be broken, and it is curative by facilitating the conduct of the investigation and eventual prosecution of the perpetrators.

Habeas data is also needed as Castro and Tamano’s privacy rights were violated following threats to expose information against them, which was made on live broadcast.

“Regardless of whether such information is accurate or not, petitioners’ right to privacy in life, liberty, and security has been violated and is threatened with continuing violation,” the petition stated, adding that the two never consented to disclosing any information about them.

FLAG said the increasing number of enforced disappearances, illegal detention, and extrajudicial killings of youth activists is compelling enough reason to go straight and seek the Supreme Court’s intervention.

“Jonila and Jhed’s abduction in plain view of witnesses and the public denial of those responsible should sway this Honorable Court towards granting the prayer for the issuance of a writ of Amparo,” they further stated.



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TAGS: Jhed Tamano, Jonila Castro, protection, Supreme Court

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