MANILA, Philippines – Military and police officials on Friday lauded the conviction of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, calling it a victory for the victims of the communist group.
In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, Major General Edgard Arevalo said the court’s decision is “a victory for the many victims of atrocities of the NPA particularly orders to conduct murder, arson, extortion, ambushes, bombing and the like that they orchestrated.”
“They were convicted ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ by the Regional Trial Court 216 of Quezon City for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention,” he said.
The Tiamzon couple is believed to be ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216 found the couple guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. They were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years of imprisonment.
The Tiamzons were also ordered to pay damages and civil indemnity to the complainant amounting to P225,000.
“The AFP will continue to hunt them down after they have violated the provisions of their temporary liberty by virtue of their being nominated as consultants in the peace negotiations with the government. They refused to submit themselves to the government after the peace negotiations did not prosper,” Arevalo said.
He also vowed that the AFP would continue to strengthen its resolve to bring other criminals to justice in honor of the victims of the violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) called the conviction of Tiamzon couple a triumph of justice.
“It is also another success story on the efficiency of our prosecutors of our investigators who secured the validity of evidence presented during trial. Of course, it is also a manifestation of the sins committed by the communist terrorists against our people,” PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Ilbrandi Usana said in a statement.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año also lauded the conviction of the Tiamzons, recalling the efforts to track down and arrest the couple when he was just a military captain.
“I’m very happy malaki kasi yung hirap ko diyan sa paghuli niyan I was the chief of ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the AFP) when they was arrested in March 2014. I just cannot recall the exact date March 20 or 21, I spent half of my career looking for this couple started I was Captain,” he said.
The couple was arrested in 2014 in Cebu City after many years of hiding. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday expressed optimism that the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), will resume soon.
Bello said CPP founder Joma Sison and NDF senior adviser Luis Jalandoni agreed to discuss the possibility of returning to the negotiating table when he personally met them in the Netherlands a few days ago.
Bello, who served as the government’s chief peace negotiator, returned to Manila on Monday.
“I cannot give you any detail on the result of our talks. ang importante nag-usap kami. They are willing to resume the talks,” he said.
Bello flew to the Netherlands last December 5 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to talk to Sison on the possibility of resuming peace negotiations.
Ties between Duterte and Sison went sour last year after the chief executive accused the rebel group of launching attacks against government forces even while the negotiations are ongoing.
In March 2019, Duterte formally terminated the peace process with the CPP-National Democratic Front of the Philippines-New People’s Army.
Bello said the communist leaders are also open to the president’s conditions to reopen negotiations but details about where, when and how the process will be conducted are yet to be determined.
The labor chief also emphasized that the chief executive did not give up on talking peace with the reds.
Bello is expected to meet with Duterte later on Wednesday to report about his meeting with Sison. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
The supposed resumption of formal peace talks between the government and National Democratic Front peace panel will not push through on June 28 according to Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jess Dureza.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte has directed them to seek first the consensus of the public and other government sectors on the issue.
“There is a need to engage the public all the more and get their support before we are able to work our certain agreements with the leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” said Dureza. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
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