2 ‘missing environmentalists’ not abducted — NSC

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The National Security Council on Friday broke the narratives of left-leaning organizations that the missing students tagged as environmentalists, Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro, who were allegedly abducted by government forces, were instead “safe and sound” in a safehouse as they turned themselves to the police for fear that their lives might be in danger after leaving the leftists’ movement.

“They left the movement. Hindi totoo na abducted itong dalawa. They left the movement on their (own) free will,” NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan E. Malaya told the media at the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict press briefing held at the National Press Club in Manila.

“Second. They are not environmentalists, they were organizers ng kaliwa,” Malaya added referring to local communists’ front organizations like Kabataan and Karapatan.

Since 1 September 2023, the two young girls, according to Malaya, were “planning to leave the movement” as narrated by Tamano and Castro in their sworn statements now forwarded to the Department of Justice to prepare charges against individuals and groups that took advantage of the conditions and experiences by the two students.

Their sworn statements, Malaya said, were done “not in front” of soldiers or police, but with lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office and Commission on Human Rights representatives.

“This is also a scam, may mga kumakalap ng pera (through G-Cash or Pay Maya) calling for donations (to find the two girls),” Malaya said.

He challenged the communist front organizations to turn back the money collected or give it to Tamano and Castro or to their parents who suffered more from false narratives.

Malaya said the DOJ will file cases against these groups and individuals.

P/Capt. Carlito l Buco Jr., chief public information officer of the Bataan Provincial Police Office, on the other hand, said the case brought also some fears to parents of students in the province, as youngsters are targeted by the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front, for recruitment.

“We call on the students, maging matalino (be smart) kayo at isaalang-alang (think of your love ones) ang mahal ninyo sa buhay,” the police official said.

He added while the two reportedly missing students are now safe and sound, their sworn statements would attest to their experiences inside the Communist movement, which make them fearful for their security.

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