Arrest of Tiamzons a great step forward for peace — AFP

March 24, 2014 10:45 am 

By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, March 23 (PNA) — The arrest of ranking New People's Army (NPA) leaders, Wilma and Benito Tiamzon, is a big contribution to the government's efforts to end insurgency in the country, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista said Sunday.

"It is a great step forward ( in government efforts) to finally put an end to armed struggle," he added.

Bautista also lauded the AFP units and their police counterparts for their successful operation which resulted in the arrest of the Tiamzons.

The two were flown out from Cebu via Philippine Air Force F-27 plane and now in the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Camp Crame.

Wilma Tiamzon is the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army while her husband, Benito, is the Chairman of the CPP-NPA.

The two were arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest for their crimes against humanity that include murder, multiple murders, and frustrated murder around 3:15 p.m. in Barangay Zaragosa, Aluginsan town, Cebu Saturday.

The couple was charged for multiple murder originally issued by Branch 18 in Hilongos, Leyte but now transferred to Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 under Judge Mario Dela Cruz.

This charge is in relation to the involvement of the Tiamzons in the brutal killing of 15 civilians in Inopacan, Leyte who they later buried in a mass grave that was discovered in 2006.

Benito was then the Secretary of the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee when they murdered the civilians.

He began as a student activist and went on to organize labor unions in the 1970s.

Tiamzon met his wife Wilma Austria in the underground movement and they bore a daughter.

Bautista declined to comment on how the arrest of the Tiamzons would affect the rebel movement.

But he expressed hope that the remaining NPA fighters, which is placed at 4,000, will now realize the futility of armed struggle and violence of more than four decades and realize the suffering it has entailed for a lot of innocent civilians.

"There are peaceful options, that is not the way to pursue any ideological or political agenda and there is a more peaceful way and more civilized way, armed struggle is a jurassic methodology, its barbaric, it has no place in this modern world," the AFP chief stressed.

Arrested with Tiamzons were Rex G. Villaflor, of Makati City; Nona C. Castillo, Consolacion, Cebu; Joel E. Enano, Buhatan, Sorsogon; Jeosi M. Nepa, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; and Arlene J Panea, Mactan, Cebu.

Seized from their possession were a Colt .45 caliber pistol, a Norinco 9mm pistol, one Kimber 9mm pistol, a .357 Smith and Wesson revolver, three magazines and 17 rounds of ammunition for .45 caliber pistol, one magazine and nineteen rounds of 9mm pistol, six bullets for the .357 revolver and two hand grenades.

Aside from this, also seized were four laptops, 16 cellular phones and 20 flash drives.(PNA)

CTB/PFN

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