Nat'l Democratic Front condemns arrest of Tiamzon couple
MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) slammed the arrest of senior communist rebel leaders for crimes against humanity Saturday, March 22.
Luis Jalandoni, chief negotiator of the NDFP in peace talks with the government, said in a statement that the NDFP "condemns in the strongest terms" the "illegal arrest" of Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma.
Jalandoni said the Tiamzons are NDFP consultants – contrary to the statement of Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Emmanuel Bautista that Benito Tiamzon is the chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army and that Wilma Tiamzon is the secretary general of the rebel group.
"Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria are NDFP Consultants who have fulfilled and are fulfilling highly significant tasks in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP/GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)," Jalandoni said in a statement.
Tiamzons protected by guarantees
Jalandoni said that, under the agreement, the Tiamzon couple is entitled to safe conduct and free passage for the duration of the peace negotiations. The agreement was signed when incumbent 1-BAP Representative Silvestro Bello III was still the government chief negotiator.
"The NDFP vigorously demands that Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria be immediately and unconditionally released," Jalandoni said.
"This latest flagrant violation of the JASIG by the Aquino regime, in addition to so many other gross violations of the JASIG, most seriously prejudices the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations," he added.
Wilma Tiamzon is a holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND978226 under her real name while Benito Tiamzon is the holder of NDFP Document of Idenfication ND978227 under the assumed name "Crising Banaag." Both leaders had acknowledgment letters from Silvestre Bello III, Jalandoni said.
Police and military forces nabbed the Tiamzon couple and 5 others in Cebu Saturday afternoon, March 22. They are facing charges for crimes against humanity, including murder, multiple murder, and frustrated murder. – Rappler.com