DOJ to file cases vs Tiamzons

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

MANILA -- Communist leaders Benito and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon will face cases of illegal possession of explosives and violation of the gun control law in relation to their arrest over the weekend, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

Aside from the Tiamzons, the DOJ will also charge Joel Enano, Arlene Panea, Rex Villaflor, Nona Castillo and Jeosi Nepa in a Cebu court for allegedly harboring a fugitive, a violation of Section 3 of Presidential Decree 1866.

"Credence can be given weight to the statements of the arresting officers who personally witnessed the search as well as possession of the respondents of said illegal firearms, ammunition and explosives. Possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives by respondents and their failure to explain their right to possess is clearly a violation of Republic Act 10591 (gun control law) and RA 9516 (illegal possession of explosives)," the resolution stated.

Mere possession of any explosive or incendiary device could also be used as evidence that the person had knowledge of the existence and the character of the device.

"Thus, possession by respondents of two fragmentation hand grenades cannot be classified as innocent or harmless on their part," the DOJ said.

Police seized .45 caliber Colt pistol, a 9-mm caliber Norinco pistol; a 9-mm caliber Kimber, two hand grenades and a .357 caliber revolver from the Tiamzons and their companions when they were arrested on March 22 in Aloguinsan, Cebu.

The seven are currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

According to their lawyers, the Tiamzons are consultants in the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and should be immune from arrest and detention according to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig).

The NDFP said Austria is a holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND 978226 under her real name while Tiamzon is the holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND 978227 under the assumed name "Crising Banaag."

The Tiamzons were facing multiple murder cases in relation to the killing of 15 people whose remains were found in a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte in 2006. (Sunnex)

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