Military and police officials said yesterday the conviction of ranking Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) officials Benito and Wilma Tiamzon on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention is a victory for the victims of the communist-terrorist group.
In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the court decision is a victory for the many victims of the atrocities of the NPA, particularly the orders to conduct murder, arson, extortion, ambushes, bombing, and other activities 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 couple is also facing multiple murder charges over the Inopacan Massacre where CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is a co-accused.
They are also charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
“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 said 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.
“We join the Filipino people in calling for a justiciable end to the armed struggle that has dragged on for decades and claimed thousands of lives,” Arevalo said, adding that it is high time for the rest of the CPP-NPA members to abandon the armed struggle and take part in bringing genuine peace and development to the country.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana, called the conviction of the Tiamzon couple a triumph of justice.
“It is also another success story on the efficiency of our prosecutors and investigators who secured the validity of evidence presented during the trial. The court also helped make the justice system work with its verdict. Of course, it is also a manifestation of the sins committed by communist terrorists against our people,” Usana said in a statement.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he was very happy with the conviction of the Tiamzon couple.
“I exerted a lot of effort in capturing them. I was the chief of ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the AFP) when they were arrested in March 2014. I spent (almost) half of my career looking for this couple,” Año said.
He said his efforts to track down the Tiamzons started when he was just a military captain.
After hiding for many years, the Tiamzon couple was arrested in Barangay Zaragoza, Cebu City in March 2014.
“I personally led the arrest and it was (a) joint operation of ISAFP and Army Intelligence. This is a great victory because this couple owes so much blood to the Filipino people. They kidnapped and killed so many people and burned so many equipment,” Año said, noting that the conviction of the couple is proof that “crime does not pay.”*PNA