Activists hit continuous surveillance

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star
Activists hit continuous surveillance
Following the pre-hearing of abducted activists Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro, members of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and other environmental, human rights, and faith-based groups with the Hands Off Jonila & Jhed Network, hold a protest rally and press conference in front of the Court of Appeals in Manila on February 22, 2024.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — Despite a protection order granted by the Supreme Court (SC), environmentalists Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano claimed they are still being subjected to surveillance by state agents.

Castro and Tamano were reportedly seized by the military in Bataan last year.

The activists made the statement after they went to the Court of Appeals (CA) yesterday for the preliminary conference on their petitions for writs of amparo and habeas data, which were granted by the SC.

“As of now, we cannot feel the protection order. We pray the CA will hasten the process. We will follow the proceedings and we hope the CA will side with us, the victims, and give us permanent protection order,” Castro said.

She said they have been experiencing difficulty in the past few months as they felt they were always being tailed and they cannot go home or remain in one place for long periods.

Dino de Leon, counsel for Castro and Tamano, said the preliminary conference was deferred to Feb. 26 as the respondent, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has yet to submit its position on the writs of amparo and habeas data.

De Leon said testimonies will be heard during the preliminary conference for the issuance of a permanent protection order and the production order for the writs.

The SC has been asked by the Office of the Solicitor General to recall the temporary protection order it granted to Castro and Tamano, saying arrest warrants had been issued against the activists on charges of grave oral defamation.

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