The conviction of high ranking Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) officials Benito and Wilma Tiamzon on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention is a victory for the many victims of the communist-terrorist group, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday.
“They were convicted ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ by the Regional Trial Court 216 of Quezon City for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. They have violated the provisions of their temporary liberty (as consultants) when they refused to surrender after the peace negotiations failed. But the AFP will continue to hunt then down where we know they are,” said AFP spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.
“We join the Filipino people in calling for a justiciable end to the armed struggle that has dragged on for decades and claimed thousands of lives… They can run. But just as justice has caught up on them with this conviction, we will nab them soon. By then, they will be back in jail to pay for the crimes they committed against our people through the many atrocities perpetrated by the NPA, which acts they planned and orchestrated,” Arevalo added.
Furthermore, the AFP official reiterated that the AFP would continue to strengthen its resolve to bring other criminals to justice in honor of the victims of the violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA.
After hiding for many years, the Tiamzon couple was arrested in Barangay Zaragoza, Cebu City, in March 2014.
The couple is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of committing kidnapping and serious illegal detention as defined and penalized in Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 6 of the same code. They are sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion Perpetua with all its accessory penalties.
The accused are also ordered to pay the complainant, Lt. Abraham Claro Casis, P75,000 as moral damages, P75,000 as civil indemnity, and P75, 000 as exemplary damages. The monetary awards for civil indemnity and damages shall earn interest at the legal rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of the judgment until fully paid.
Aside from this, the couple is also facing multiple murder charges over the Inopacan Massacre where CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is a co-accused. They are also charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.