The Interior and Local Government Department has requested an accelerated search for consultants from the National Democratic Front, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, who were convicted last week in a decades-old abduction and serious illegal detention case. In the statement, the DILG also said that based on intelligence sources, the couple is still in the country.
The Quezon City Provincial Trial Court Branch 216 found the Tiamzon couple guilty of kidnapping and extreme unlawful imprisonment in the 1988 abduction of Army soldiers in Quezon province without reasonable doubt.
The DILG has directed the PNP to intensify the manhunt for former CPP Chairman Benito Tiamzon & his wife, who based on intelligence reports are still in the country 3 days after a Quezon City court sentenced them for kidnapping & serious illegal detention. https://t.co/76Z70wjxOg pic.twitter.com/e0auVoCVK7— DILG Philippines (@DILGPhilippines) December 1, 2020
In fact, the court claimed that the case was raised for settlement based solely on facts provided by the defense of plaintiff Lt. Claro Casis, when after a warrant of arrest was released against them in 2018, the pair stopped appearing at hearings.
Año praised the court decision as a great victory for the Filipino people, as he remembered that the Communist insurgency killed about 40,000 police, soldiers and civilians. Since 1969, the Revolutionary People’s Army has waged guerrilla warfare against government forces. In view of this, Counsel for the couple, lawyer Rachel Pastores, said the Tiamzons and their witnesses were facing threats to their life.
She also claimed that the Tiamzons submitted a demonstration prior to the date of promulgation enumerating significant risks to peace consultants, as seen in the cases of Randall Echanis and Randy Malayao, who were violently killed in 2020 and 2019, respectively. Counsel for the couple, lawyer Rachel Pastores, said the Tiamzons and their witnesses were facing threats to their life.
At this moment, the vilification of the Tiamzons, headed by the president himself, has limited their room for redress or relief. The Tiamzons, along with other peace advisors facing bogus charges in court, can not avail themselves of a fair hearing, considering the current factual climate.