Tiamzons, lawyer walk out of ‘irregular’ proceeding

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Monday, March 24, 2014

A LAWYER of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, the top leaders of the Communist Party f the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) who were captured in Cebu over the weekend, walked out of the inquest proceedings yesterday in Quezon City.

Rachel Pastores, legal counsel of the Tiamzons and five others, said in an interview they did not participate in the inquest proceedings, which she described as “highly irregular.”

The proceedings were for a case of illegal possession of firearms and explosive devices, which the Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing against the couple.


Pastores said the inquest proceedings should have been done within 24 hours in Cebu.

She said that since the arrest last March 22, it was the first time they heard that firearms, explosive devices and ammunitions were confiscated in the operation.

“Ang kinukwestyon natin ay saan nanggaling ngayon yang firearms and explosives and ammunitions na pinapakita nila belatedly? (Where did these firearms, explosives and ammunitions come from?) Hindi natin pwedeng hayaan na magkaroon lang ng justification ‘yung illegal arrest na ginawa sa kanila by belatedly filing this case of alleged illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives,” she said.

They appear to have been planted, she added.

The joint military and police teams that arrested the couple and their companions seized assorted firearms and explosives, according to a report by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region (CIDG-NCR) chief, Senior Supt. Roberto Fajardo.

Fajardo also said that DOJ prosecutors do have the authority to conduct inquest proceedings anywhere.

Pastores, in an interview, said that Tiamzon and Austria “are important to the peace negotiations” between the government and the CPP-NPA, and that their arrest “will definitely affect the talks.” She is the National Democratic Front of the Philippines legal consultant in the negotiations.

She said there have been informal talks and meetings, although the last formal session between the CPP-NPA and the government peace panel was back in February 2011 yet.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles earlier said the arrest of Tiamzon and Austria does not change the basic stance of the government on its peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA. (Third Anne Peralta/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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