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NTF-ELCAC Statement



LE September 19, 2023



We are appalled as we are deeply saddened by the unfortunate turn of events during this morning’s press conference at the Municipal Hall of Plaridel town in Bulacan where youths Jhed Reiyana Tamano and Jonila Castro parroted the propaganda lines of Leftist groups on their supposed abduction by security forces.

We felt betrayed.

The said press conference was organized with only the best of intentions in mind for the said youths and we are extremely grateful to the local government unit of Plaridel under Mayor Jocell Aimee R. Vistan for their generosity and hospitality in facilitating the event.

The NTF-ELCAC stands by the position of the 70th Infantry Battalion under LtCol. Ronnel Dela Cruz on the circumstances surrounding the surrender of Tamano and Castro, backed up by the duo’s respective affidavits narrating their whereabouts from the time they decided to leave the underground movement until their safe arrival at the Battalion headquarters with the help of a friend.

We also stand by the official report of the Philippine National Police in Bataan province on the case of Ms. Tamano and Ms. Castro and leaves no doubt on the authenticity and integrity of the investigation conducted by them.

Whatever caused their sudden change of heart is beyond us. Earlier engagements by Task Force officials with the two students regarding the veracity and truthfulness of their affidavits were convincing enough to merit their public appearance.

We were hoodwinked.

Nevertheless, we remain steadfast in ensuring the safety of the two and committed to upholding their rights as individuals under any circumstances. Their utterances during the LGU-facilitated press conference will definitely be looked into with the support of the other civilian agency members of the Task Force.

The holding of the press conference was imbued with a tremendous amount of good faith, notwithstanding the unimaginable outcome of the same. If their intention was to humiliate the NTF-ELCAC and those who trusted them despite the good faith we have shown, we shall remain unfazed and committed to fulfilling our mandate for the greater good of the people and of the country.

We leave to the wisdom of the Task Force’s legal eagles as to how to proceed from here.

Rest assured that the NTF-ELCAC remains committed to continue to tread the path of unity, peace and development at all costs and that Ms. Tamano and Ms. Castro’s safety and well-being are of primordial importance.

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