Osmena backs arrest of Tiamzon couple

March 26, 2014 9:40 am 

MANILA, March 25 – Senator Serge Osmena III said on Tuesday the government authorities have valid reason to arrest two Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) leaders because ‘they’re in the Order of Battle.’

Osmena said CCP-NPA chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma, cannot invoke the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) as their defense from arrest.

”Their (NPAs) attacks on the locals continue. In other words, for them there was no truce. And if there’s no truce, then the Order of Battle still in effect. And those who are included in the Order of Battle are subject to arrest,” Osmena explained.

Osmena said the arrest of the Tiamzon couple after a two-month surveillance in Cebu last Saturday is under the power provided by the Constitution to the law enforcers.

”You and I are shooting at each other. You want to talk peace, remember at the same time that I am not just shooting at you but I also have an arrest warrant against you, so I have the right to exercise my police powers under the Constitution to defend the Republic of the Philippines. That is the essence of the source of all police powers of the government,” he said.

Osmena said President Benigno Aquino III is correct in his decision not to give in to the request of NDF peace panel chief political consultant Jose Maria "Joma" Sison to release the Tiamzons.

”So, I arrest you now and you say, wait we have peace talks but your shooting my soldiers and you’re saying that I cannot arrest you? What am I supposed to do? Smile and just pray for those you have killed? That’s not right,” Osmena said.

Senator Grace Poe said for the Tiamzon couple to claim immunity from arrest, they should be participating actively in the peace process.

”Apparently, for those who have immunity, you should be an active participant in the negotiating panel which apparently the two who were arrested weren't really showing up. This was the claim of the negotiating panel,” Poe explained.

For his part, Senator Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’ Angara appealed to the government and the CPP-NPA to seriously continue the peace talk to allow the NPA rebels to surrender and to return to the fold of the law.

”On the part of the government, they should give amnesty and livelihood to those who will surrender their arms,” Angara said.

”Time to move on for both parties, step up for a higher purpose. Armed struggle had a role to play during the era of martial rule; it has outlived its purpose and the revolution must continue through peaceful and democratic means,” Angara added. (PNA)

FPV/JFM

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