Tiamzon couple to stay in Camp Crame

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TOP communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon will remain in Camp Crame, Quezon City after a Manila court on Wednesday blocked a request to transfer the couple to a Bureau of Jail Management Penology (BJMP) prison facility in Taguig City.

At a hearing on the multiple murder cases, Manila Regional Trial Court branch 32 Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina respected the commitment orders of three other courts where other charges against the couple are pending.

Medina is handling the cases related to the mass grave found in Leyte in 2006. The military said the bones belong to communist rebels who were killed for turning their backs on the insurgency movement.

The Tiamzons are also facing charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention at the Quezon City RTC, murder and frustrated murder in Laoang, Northern Samar and illegal possession of explosives in Toledo, Cebu.

According to the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL), which represents the couple in the cases, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) argued that the Philippine National Police (PNP) does not have the capacity to secure the Tiamzons and should therefore be transferred to the detention facility where the cases against them are filed.

"But this claim contradicts PNP's elaborate preparations to welcome and billet new, high-profile, and influential detainees involved in the pork barrel scam," the NUPL said, referring to Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., who were charged with plunder and graft at the Sandiganbayan.

The group added that the prospective detention cells for the senators, measuring 32 square meters each, is in "stark contrast to the cramped, humid and squalid separate cells" of the Tiamzons barely measuring half this size.

Rights group Karapatan, together with other progressive organizations, held a protest in front of the Manila court during the hearing to call for the release of the couple, whom they considered as consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to the stalled peace talks with the government.

NDFP is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). (Sunnex)

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