Activists Jonila Castro, Jhed Tamano seek protective writs from SC

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — The two environmental activists who disappeared last Sept. 2 have filed an appeal urging the Supreme Court to issue a writ of amparo and writ of habeas data against members of the Philippines Army, Philippine National Police (PNP), and some government agencies.

Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano on Thursday filed the two protective writs as they are "insecure about their physical safety as respondents know where they and their families reside" and are "concerned with the genuineness of the alleged information that Respondents have threatened to release."

They named as respondents Lt. Col, Ronnel dela Cruz and members of the 70th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, Police Captain Carlito Buco and members of the PNP Bataan, National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and others who act under their orders.

The NTF-ELCAC earlier said Tamano and Castro surrendered to the 70th Infantry Battalion.

READ: Gov't says 2 missing environmental activists in custody; rights groups alarmed 

However, in a press conference on Sept. 19, the two environmental activists denied they voluntarily surrendered to authorities and claimed that the military was behind their abduction.

READ: Environmental activists deny surrendering to authorities, claim military abducted them 

Hands off activists

Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan, called for an end to attacks on people who "seek justice and accountability."

"These forms of reprisals when victims and their loved ones exercise their right to redress are acts to cover-up the crimes of those in power. These illegal and dastardly acts should stop," Karapatan said in a statement Friday.

"As these two brave women have shown us, we must speak the truth about these attacks against our rights and dare to challenge the prevailing climate of impunity. It is a matter of survival," Palabay said.