The Directors Guild of the Philippines (DGPI) has called for the “immediate release” of filmmaker Jade Castro after he was arrested by police last week.
Castro and three of his friends were arrested on suspicion of arson in Mulanay, Quezon in the Philippines on Tuesday (February 1).
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He is known for directing indie arthouse films such as comedy horror Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington (aka Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings) and TV series such as Beki Boxer and LSS (Last Song Syndrome). He is a producer on Some Nights I Feel Like Walking, which is in post and set for the festival circuit this year.
Castro tweeted about the situation and declared his innocence, stated he was on vacation and that the crime had occurred in Catanauan, which is about 25km away from Mulanay. He later shared that the arrest was warrantless and it appears he is still being held.
“Jade Castro is a vetted DGPI member and an important voice of Philippine independent cinema,” said the DGPI in its statement. “We stand by his innocence and testify to his good character. We urge clarity of the matter from the authorities involved, and the immediate release of Jade Castro from detention.”
Other bodies including the Philippine Center of International PEN (Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists), and non-profit organization DAKILA have released statements calling for his release, while a social media campaign on X #freejadecastro is building steam.
Filmmaker @castrojade has been detained without a warrant since February 1, 2024. As his legal fees continue to mount, his family and friends are raising funds to help him fight this injustice.
If you'd like to support Jade, you can donate through the following accounts: pic.twitter.com/B9HR8Gdk1D
— DAKILA Philippines (@dakila_ph) February 6, 2024
The statements call on the Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice to conduct a “quick, thorough and transparent investigation” into the incident and “uphold the rule of law.”
According to local reports, on Wednesday, January 31, a modern jeepney (a minibus-like utility vehicle), owned by a transport service cooperative, had been burned to the ground. Police and witnesses say that the perpetrators had worn bonnets and had been armed. The incident was linked to a disagreement over a cooperative franchise plan.
Police then traced the suspects to a resort in Mulanay and Castro, Ernesto Orcine, Noel Mariano and Dominic Ramos were arrested and brought into a police station. They have been accused of the arson by the driver, conductor and two passengers of the burned jeepney, according to the reports.
Castro is producing Some Nights I Feel Like Walking through his Origin8 imprint alongside Alemberg Ang of Daluyong Studios, with Anthony Chen of Singapore’s Giraffe Pictures, Si En Tan of Singapore’s Momo Film Co and Stefano Centini of Italy’s Volos Films Italia co-producing. The film centers on a teenage runaway who joins a group of street hustlers on a road trip to fulfill their friend’s wish. It shot in Pangasinan, a province in northern Philippines.
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