NDFP condemns illegal arrest

of NDFP Consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria

 

Posted: March 26, 2014

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Statement of Political Prisoners Tiamzon and Austria on their Arrest
Pahayag ni Wilma Austria at Benito Tiamzon
March 24, 2014

Mahigpit naming iginigiit na kagyat kaming palayain mula sa ilegal at di makatarungang pag-aresto. Saklaw kami ng proteksyon ng Magkasanib na Kasunduan sa Seguridad, Imyunidad at Garantiya o Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Ako, si Wilma, ay publikong kinilala bilang NDF Consultant noong panahon pa ni dating Presidente Ramos. At mismong Presidente Ramos at dating Sec. Bello dating chairman ng GRP Panel ang magpapatunay. Si Kas. Benito ay may dala-dalang Document of Identification/safe conduct pass. Kinumpiska lamang ito ng mga kumuha sa amin at hindi inaksyunan.

Kung hindi kikilalanin ang beripikasyong ito ay wala pong integridad at dignidad/balasubas makipag-usap ang reaksyunaryong gubyerno.

 

Kaming mga NDF consultants ay importanteng bahagi ng prosesong pangkapayapaan. Hindi dapat isangkalan ni Alex Padilla, kasalukuyang chairperson ng GPH Panel ang pagbalik sa underground ng mga nahuhuling NDF consultants kapag nakalaya. Sapagkat likas na katangian ng NDF consultants na katawanin ang interes ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan at gumampan ng importanteng papel sa pakikibaka.

Habang humuhusay ang paggampan sa papel ng pakikibaka lalong huhusay ang kondisyon para pabilisin ang usapang pangkapayapaan. Para epektibong magampanan ng mga consultants ang kanilang papel sa prosesong pangkapayapaan kailangang lagi silang may malapit na ugnay at nasa piling ng malaking pwersang kanilang kinakatawan kahit nasa proseso ng pag-uusap. Ito ay katiyakan na laging napapanahon at mahigpit na naitataguyod at ang kanilang tunay na interes sa proseso ng usapang pangkapayapaan.

Nanatili kaming handa na ipagpatuloy ang usapang pangkapayapaan basta ito ay seryosong pumapaksa sa paglutas sa tunay at saligang mga problema ng sambayanang Pilipino upang makamit ang tunay at magtatagal na kapayapaan.
 

   
 
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Why the arrest of the Tiamzons et al is illegal and unjustified
By the legal defense team of the PILC and NUPL
26 March 2014

1. The Tiamzon spouses are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) arising from the peace negotiations and thus must not be arrested by the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

2. Benito and Wilma Austria Tiamzon are holders of documents of identification (more popularly known as “safe conduct passes”) numbers ND978227 and ND978226, respectively, as consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Both have also been issued Letters of Acknowledgement by two Chairmen of the GPH Negotiating Panel, Howard Dee in 1996 and Silvestre H. Bello III in 2001.

3. Wilma Austria Tiamzon is publicly known by her real name to be involved in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations since the 1990s, and must be afforded recognition and protection as such. The use of assumed names by accredited or protected persons, such as “Crising Banaag” by Benito Tiamzon, is justified by:
 

3.1. Accepted practice in peace negotiations with underground organizations, and as agreed upon by the Parties.
 

3.2. Additional implementing rules pertinent to the JASIG signed by both Parties explicitly allowing such use.
 

3.3. Historical lessons during the 1986 peace negotiations when a number of participants from the NDFP were exposed, arrested, and even killed.
 

3.4. Security and privacy considerations, to encourage those who want to participate in the negotiations, and as assurance against present or future reprisals.

4. The status of the Tiamzon spouses as consultants of the NDFP is not questionable. There is no need for further or additional verification/validation of their identities.
 

4.1. They are in possession of and presented documents of identification and letters of acknowledgement. Further verification is only obligatory when there are no other means of establishing identity. (JASIG Implementing Rules)
 

4.2. Out of 427 political prisoners in the Philippines, only 14 are being claimed by the NDFP as consultants.

5. Arresting the Tiamzon spouses constitutes bad faith on the part of the GPH in complying with its obligations under binding bilateral agreements.
 

5.1. JASIG was crafted precisely to facilitate the peace negotiations, to create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and free movement during the peace negotiation, and avert incidents that may jeopardize the peace negotiations. It actually benefits the panelists, consultants, staff and security of both Parties to safety and immunity guarantees.
 

5.2. Under the principle in international law of “pacta sunt servanda” (Latin for promises must be kept), agreements are binding between the Parties and must be kept and performed in good faith.
 

5.3. A Party like the GPH cannot use its domestic law as a justification or excuse for the non-performance/compliance with its obligations under a binding international agreement like JASIG.

6. Protection of the Tiamzon spouses under the JASIG subsists.
 

6.1. JASIG can only be terminated by written notice of either Party to the other and will only be effective 30 days upon receipt (JASIG Part III. No. 5). No written notice has been sent or received by the NDFP for the termination of the negotiations by GPH under the Aquino administration.
 

6.2. There is no provision in the JASIG allowing for suspension or "inoperatibility" of its protections as this will render nugatory its objectives and practical value.
 

6.3. The whole peace process or negotiations are huge and elaborate and do not only involve scheduled formal talks across the negotiating table. It equally involves continuing phases such as consultation, research, study, education, information, advocacy, backchanneling, exploratory meetings, informal talks, and formal talks. Absence, suspensions or impasses in formal peace talks do not mean the whole peace negotiations/process are automatically absent, suspended or terminated.
 

7. The Tiamzon spouses are engaged in activities directly related to their role as consultants in the peace negotiations.
 

7.1. The Tiamzons were conducting intensive consultations with peasants and basic sectors in the Visayas at the time of their arrest particularly with respect to socio-economic issues and the effects of supertyphoon Yolanda.
 

7.2. Even the GPH alleges them as leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New Peoples’ Army. It stands to reason and common sense that they should be monitoring implementation of agreements on the field, be consulted by and conduct consultations with members of the NDFP and pertinent individuals and groups, in such a significant work as the peace negotiations.

8. Four days after their arrest have passed yet still no valid warrants have been presented against the seven detained.
 

8.1. The detained and their counsels have not received, nor have been furnished previous valid warrants against any of them. Even present attempts to procure these are being blocked by the military. It is not implausible that shotgun warrants would eventually surface as the Tiamzon spouses are mechanically made default respondents or “usual suspects” in incidents allegedly involving the New People's Army.

9. The belated inquest proceedings for the trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives are highly irregular and cannot be given legal credence or effect.
 

9.1. It was conducted 44 hours after the arrest, way beyond the GPH maximum period of 36 hours of legal detention without charges being filed; thus the detention is arbitrary and illegal.
 

9.2. It was conducted not at the place of the alleged crimes in Cebu, but some 355 miles away, in Quezon City.
 

9.3. Evidence has been planted. It is incumbent now upon the GPH prove the integrity and admissibility in court of the firearms and explosives allegedly taken from the detainees. The presumption of innocence subsists and the burden of proof and evidence does not shift to them.
 

9.4. New, false, and fabricated charges were filed as an afterthought to cover previous fatal infirmities in supposed warrants almost two days after the incident.
 

9.5. Police CIDG officers did not inform counsels for detained about the inquest despite presenting themselves the day before. Counsels were surprised with and only informed about the inquest for the new and fabricated charges only three hours prior by members of media.

10. The practice of charging common criminal offenses, instead of political crimes, against consultants of the NDFP (and other political prisoners) cannot legalize the arrest and detention of the Tiamzons.
 

10.1. Filing criminal charges , false, anomalous and fabricated at that, are precisely calculated to undermine and remove the very protection of the JASIG; conversely, the JASIG was intended to shield participants of the peace process from harassment and other acts that hinder their work, like the filing of such charges.
 

10.2. These new false charges are designed to ensure the detention of the Tiamzons when other possible old charges against them wither in the face of intense scrutiny.
 

10.3. These trumped up charges violate the political offense doctrine, which mandates that all crimes in furtherance of political beliefs must be subsumed under one political crime of rebellion. Any person investigated, charged, arrested, prosecuted or convicted in violation of this judicial doctrine must be released as mandated by the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which the GPH co-signed with the NDFP way back 1998.#


References:

Atty. Rachel F. Pastores
Managing Counsel, Public Interest Law Center (PILC)
+639279219539

Atty. Edre U. Olalia
Secretary General, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
+639175113373

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO OF THE PRESS CON OF ATTY. EDRE OLALIA AND OTHERS
 

     
     
On the way to inquest
(stills from GMA News TV) 
     
     
     
     
           
     


In spite of the Tiamzon couple’s capture, the People’s Democratic Revolution will advance!
Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris)
Spokesperson
NDFP Mindanao Chapter

March 25, 2014

We condemn in the strongest terms possible the arrest of the Tiamzon couple because as major consultants to the peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP, they are immune to arrest as clearly stipulated under a bilaterally signed agreement between the GPH and the NDFP, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Wilma Austria is a certified JASIG holder with Identification ND 978826 under her real name, while Benito Tiamzon holds JASIG Identification ND 978227 under the name “Crising Banaag.” In compliance with said agreement between the GPH and the NDFP and as an act of sincerity on the part of the Aquino government in attaining peace, it is imperative that the Tiamzon couple and five of their companions be released without condition.

The arrest of Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria Tiamzon and five others, will not deter the People’s Democratic Revolution from continuing to advance nor will it dampen the resolve of the entire revolutionary forces to carry forward the interests of the people and the Revolution. Beyond having to frustrate the objectives of the brutal Oplan Bayanihan in its first three years, the Revolutionary movement is more than ever intent on frustrating the last three years of its implementation, because of the people’s continuing struggle against exploitation and oppression in the midst of an ever worsening crisis gripping the entire country and the world. While revolutionary forces in Mindanao are once again faced with the challenge of thwarting renewed attacks of the OPB, which deployed three new additional AFP brigades against the NPA in Mindanao, only presents itself as an opportune time for other regions in the Visayas and Luzon to advance further.

If we hark back to history, when CPP founding Chairman Prof. Jose Maria Sison and then NPA Commander Bernabe “Dante” Buscayno were arrested during Marcos’s Martial Law, the revolutionary movement has never ceased from expanding rapidly and has continuously strengthened on a nationwide scale. This was even followed with the capture of former CPP Chair Rudy Salas, including the former head of the NPA Romulo Kintanar and many other members of the Central Committee of the CPP, during the Corazon Aquino administration; the revolutionary movement only continued to gain greater strength. With these as precedence, there is absolutely no basis for the people’s revolutionary struggle to cease from advancing on account solely of the Tiamzon couple’s capture. The primary basis for the Revolutionary movement’s continuing and unstoppable advance does not rely solely on its leaders, but derives impetus with the ever worsening state of exploitation and oppression by imperialists and its local ruling classes towards the vast masses.

The principal reason for either the regression or advance of the revolutionary movement in the face of the continuing grave social crisis in the country is whether or not the movement follows the correct political line, and not because of certain personalities in its leadership. This means that if the revolutionary movement resolutely stands for the general interests of the vast majority of the people, particularly for their aspiration to attain genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization, genuine right to self-determination, democracy and social benefits, the people’s revolution will continue, and continue to struggle until socialism shall have been established.

Immediately release Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and their five companions!
Carry forward the struggle for peace based on social justice!


More reasons to advance the people’s war in Southern Mindanao
March 24, 2014
Rigoberto Sanchez
Spokesperson
NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command (Merardo Arce Command)

The capture of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria only emboldens the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao to further intensify the people’s war in the region. The US-Aquino regime is daydreaming when it says the arrest spells the demise of the revolutionary movement. The NPA-SMR is ever resolute to advance the guerrilla war to a higher stage because the roots of armed conflict are firmly embedded in a region heavily militarized by the fascist AFP troops.

Instead of dismantling pork barrel and corruption, providing genuine relief for disaster victims, and ending the poverty of the Filipino masses, the US-Aquino regime has embarked its relentless aggressive war in the countryside. Under its counterrevolutionary policy Oplan Bayanihan, it deployed its vast resources and manpower to militarize the peasant villages and open it for further imperialist plunder.

Ironically after boasting that several provinces in the region are insurgency-free, the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command augmented its troops with a new Army division, and the deployment of the 9th Infantry Battalion in Compostela Valley, the 68th IB and the 4th Special Forces in Davao del Norte and Bukidnon boundary.

The new Army units are responsible for the spate of aerial bombing in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, and in Maco, Compostela Valley. They add up to the current AFP combat troops under Its Peace and Development program which are disrupting the lives of civilian peasants and Lumads in Paquibato, Maco, Magpet, Tulunan, Makilala and Compostela through its legalized hamletting and immersion activities. The new AFP units are the latest enemies of the people because they act as mercenary protectors of imperialist and local big business. They are the latest violators of human rights who will perpetrate the same injustice suffered by rape-slay victim Rebelyn Pitao, the child victim Roque Antivo, and the other victims of extra-judicial killings in the region.

The people’s guerrilla army shall continue to outwit and outmaneuver the Eastern Mindanao Command whose Special Operations Teams are intensifying their hamletting in the countryside. The NPA’s regular troops and the people’s militia shall continue to conduct widespread and intensive tactical offensives, to hit the Aquino regime’s armed forces whenever and wherever in the Southern Mindanao territory. It will seize more arms, inflict mounting casualties and accelerate the formation of more NPA platoons.

In the last two months alone, three sub-regional units of the NPA have inflicted 54 casualties against the AFP. It is standard operating procedure for the military to conceal the real score in the battlefield by being silent with the real number of casualties. It is only when the media are vigilant enough that the military is forced to reveal the number of body bags. The 39th IB, 57th IB and the 71st IB suffered several defeats, thus they were required to attend rotational retraining; their absence is currently augmented with the new battalions.

In the face of the AFP’s relentless attacks, the NPA urges the people to defend their homes and families. Only through the armed struggle can the masses protect the gains of the people’s war and prevent themselves from being placed under military control. The NPA is always open for any cooperation with the people when it comes to protecting their rights, defending their lands and inflicting blows against the fascist enemy that wreak havoc to their lives.

The NPA also urges the Cafgu paramilitary forces who, because of extreme poverty, are coerced to become enemies of their fellow peasants. They should turn their backs from their fascist and corrupt masters and serve and defend their poor class. They should discern that the AFP commanders to whom they report to receive fat salaries and kickbacks at the expense of the people’s welfare.

 

     
     

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Press Statement
26 March 2014

1. On Palace Communications Sec. Coloma claim that Tiamzons should prove alleged firearms and explosives were planted:

Last time we checked, it is the Prosecution/Government that should prove its case. The presumption of innocence remains and has the burden - not the respondents/accused, to prove the integrity and legal admissibility of the assailed firearms and explosives. Detached standard rhetorics and official lines on being fair and just fly away from routinary practice and reality on the ground.

2. On AFP PIO chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala demand that Tiamzon lawyers shut up and stop the "propaganda":

We lawyers are just exercising our profession and protecting the rights of our clients amidst vicious vilification and unmitigated demonization. We have no choice when queried but to explain the side of our clients amidst the barrage of government pronouncements. We cannot just take these sitting down without rectification.

If we lawyers are engaged in "propaganda," then what do you call yourself and your office? The sole and exclusive purveyor of "truth"?

You do not stop someone from telling the truth by militarist gagging. You can only do that by satisfactorily and credibly proving the falsity of such "truth" with clear, logical and commonsensical explanations.

3. On PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Reuben Sindac claim the Tiamzon arrest was "with presumption of regularity":

Abundant experience and long record of police operations has patently shown the reverse in actual practice. In contemporary Philippine setting, this legal presumption is an anachronism. It has been exploited as a veneer for justifying shortcuts, blunders, missteps, rights violations and even cover-ups to escape accountability.

Mukhang natitinik o nabibilaukan na ang gobyerno sa "big fish" showcase nito.

Wala talagang pagbabago. Routinary denial/limitation of right to counsel, torture, trumped/up charges, demonization of dissenters, curtailment of basic rights, and alas, prohibition or intolerance against any form of speech contrary to the official government line. One cannot even simply freely raise one's fist in protest or defiance .

Ganito na sila nuon, ganito pa rin sila ngayon. #

Reference:

Edre U. Olalia
Secretary General
National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL)
09175113373

(NUPL is part of the legal defense team of the seven arrested at Aloguinsan, Cebu with the Public Interest Law Center.)
--
National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax no.920-6660
Email addresses: nupl2007@gmail.com and nuplphilippines@yahoo.com
Follow us on twitter @nuplphilippines and facebook @https://www.facebook.com/nuplphilippines
Visit the NUPL website at http://www.nupl.net/


"By calling yourselves the ‘people’s lawyer,’ you have made a remarkable choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights are assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for the dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on the battlefield live beyond irrelevance.”
 

- Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his message at the NUPL Founding Congress, September 15, 2007

"After long years of experience as a people’s lawyer, I can honestly say it has been a treasured journey of self-fulfillment and rewarding achievement. I know it will be the same for all others who choose to tread this path."
 

- Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, NUPL founding chairperson, in his keynote address at the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in Asia Pacific ( COLAP V), September 18, 2010

 

     
     
           


GRP’s policy of arresting and abducting NDFP’s peace consultants belies Aquino’s posturing for peace
Posted on 25 March 2014

Press Statement
March 25, 2014
Reference: CAROL P. ARAULLO, Bayan Chairperson

Last week’s illegal arrest of CPP leaders Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon is but the latest in a string of blatant violations of the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) that has imperiled the peace process.

Like other arrested NDFP peace consultants, Tiamzon and Austria-Tiamzon are protected by the JASIG, should not have been arrested and theefore should be released.

The JASIG was signed by both panels in February 1995 to facilitate the peace negotiations by creating a favorable atmosphere and averting any incident that may jeopardize the talks. Negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel of both panels are issued safe conduct passes or documents of identification (under Sec. I) and are guaranteed immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation due to their involvement in the negotiations (under Sec. II).

The agreement, which provides a mechanism to address violations and disputes on its implementation, is deemed in force unless explicitly terminated by either party as provided for (Sec. III).

When arrested, Benito Tiamzon carried with him his JASIG pass under the alias ‘Crising Banaag’ while Wilma Tiamzon had hers under her own name. Both have letters of acknowledgment signed by former GRP negotiating panel head Silvestre Bello III. However, the arresting team ignored said documents. GRP officials are now saying one of three things: that the Tiamzon couple are not covered by JASIG and, even if they are, JASIG is not enforceable due to the current impasse in the talks; the failure to verify the identities of the NDFP JASIG pass holders due to the corrupted digital keys; and because there are criminal cases against the couple for which warrants of arrest have been issued by GRP courts.

The talks are undeniably at an impasse but I should stress that these have not been terminated by either party, so the JASIG remains in full force.

On the issue of verification, Wilma Tiamzon’s identity is easily verified because she used her real name in her JASIG document while Benito Tiamzon’s alias can be verified by both parties if the GRP is willing to sit down with the NDFP to do so as provided in the JASIG. In fact, former Pres. Fidel Ramos personally knows Wilma Tiamzon as an NDFP consultant because he visited her and did not object to her release on recognizance1994 as a confidence-building measure for the peace negotiations.

 


With regard to the criminal cases the couple are facing, may we remind the Aquino government of the GRP penchant for filing trumped-up criminal charges against revolutionary leaders and members instead of the correct charge of rebellion in violation of established jurisprudence, i.e. the Hernandez doctrine. This is clearly GPH attempt to criminalize and demonize political dissidents and put them behind jail on false charges.

For the sake of peace, the Aquino government should allow the Tiamzon couple and other detained NDFP consultants to to resume their work in contributing to the progess of the talks, which undeniably includes conducting consultations and giving updates to the NDFP revolutionary forces in the field.

To date, 14 NDFP consultants to the peace talks are in detention while 10 have been forcibly disappeared by suspected state agents, in direct violation the JASIG.

Aside from the Tiamzon couple, NDFP consultants presently detained are Jaime Soledad, Emeterio Antalan, Leopoldo Caloza, Renante Gamara, Eduardo Serrano, Eduardo Sarmiento, Allan Jazmines, Pedro Codaste, Alfredo Mapano, Loida Magpatoc, Edgardo Friginal and Tirso Alcantara. The NDFP has repeatedly asked the GRP to facilitate the release of these consultants in order for the talks to proceed.

NDFP consultants abducted by suspected state agents and still missing are Leopoldo Ancheta, Ariel Beloy, Rogelio Calubad, Prudencio Calubid, Gloria Canaval, Elmer dela Cruz, Federico Intise, Philip Limjoco, Celina Palma and Leo Velasco.

How can Pres. Benigno Aquino III be truly serious about addressing the root causes of the armed conflict through peace negotiations with the NDFP when his administration continues to violate JASIG, wih state security forces arresting and abducting the very persons that are supposed to work for the peace talks?

Other consultants have been charged with various trumped-up cases but have been allowed to post bail in order for them to do their tasks. This is a laudable precedent that should be applicable to the Tiamzon couple.

By repeatedly and brazenly violating the provisions of the JASIG, the GRP is sending the message that it is not interested in the peace talks. Pres. Aquino’s supposed offer of continuing the talks after the arrest of two more NDFP consultants is pure hypocrisy.# -

     

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On the arrest of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria
The revolution is free to grow in strength and advance – Prof. Sison
March 24, 2014
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman
Communist Party of the Philippines

INTERVIEW with Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines

By ROSELLE VALERIO
Liberation International

Roselle Valerio (RV): What was your immediate reaction to the arrest of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria?

Jose Maria Sison (JMS): I thought immediately that the arrest of these two NDFP consultants in the peace negotiations is in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). They are holders of the document of identification under JASIG and are protected from surveillance, harassment and arrest.

RV: Is it true, as Alex Padilla, the military and other Aquino government officials claim, that you are on opposite sides with the Tiamzon couple regarding peace negotiations? That Tiamzon and Austria are “hardliners” and “war freaks” and that they are at odds with you and the NDFP negotiating panel?

JMS: The Tiamzon couple are in support of the peace negotiations. That’s why they are consultants in the peace negotiations. The claims of high officials and military officers of the reactionary government that the Tiamzon couple are at odds with the CPP founding chairman and the NDFP Negotiating Panel is a malicious intrigue. They should read the official declarations of the CPP Central Committee supporting the work of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and its consultants, including myself.

RV: How well do you know Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria?

JMS: I knew them as excellent cadres of the Manila-Rizal regional committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the early 1970s. Then Benny Tiamzon became secretary of the Eastern Visayas regional committee of the CPP in the mid-1970s onwards. He was outstanding for his comprehensive ability in ideology, politics and organization. Wilma was also outstanding. It is not surprising that they would rise to the highest central positions in tne CPP.

RV: What do you know of Tiamzon’s involvement and role in the CPP in the 1990s, in the Second Great Rectification Movement?

JMS: Tiamzon played a leading role in the Second Great Rectification Movement, which started in 1992. This was an educational campaign that reaffirmed basic revolutionary principles and resulted in the rectification of serious subjectivist and opportunist errors and the revitalization and resurgence of the CPP, NPA, the mass base and the people’s democratic government. The CPP cadres and members held on to the general line of democratic revolution through protracted people’s war, while a few rabid opponents became NGO racketeers, yellow labor dealers, bureaucrats of the reactionary government and even spies and psywar experts of the military.

RV: What do you know of the Tiamzon couple’s current roles in the CPP and their activities in the Visayas when they were arrested?

JMS: My reliable source of information regarding the current roles of the Tiamzons is the CPP official statement published in Ang Bayan. They are described as senior leaders of the CPP paying close attention to the plight and rehabilitation of the communities and families victimized by the supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Visayas.

RV: What will be the impact of the arrest of the Tiamzon couple on the CPP leadership? The military say that without Tiamzon the CPP will suffer from a vacuum of leadership.

JMS: Leadership in the CPP is collective. It does not depend on any single leader no matter how excellent. When I was arrested in 1977, I was the CPP Central Committee chairman. But the armed revolution continued, grew in strength and became a major factor in the overthrow of Marcos despite his boast that he had finished off the CPP upon my arrest.

Like me and Julie when we were arrested in 1977, Benny Tiamzon and Wilma Austria will be replaced automatically by comrades. To use basketball parlance, I say that the CPP has a deep bench. The Central Committee is replenished and further strengthened by the increasing number of national cadres as well as regional cadres from some 17 regions.

RV: What will be the impact on the New People’s Army and the people’s war?

JMS: The NPA will become even more determined to wage people’s war. The ground is fertile for people’s war because of the system of oppression and exploitation that subjects the people to intolerable suffering. The people desire the overthrow of the rotten system of big compradors and landlords servile to US imperialism.

RV: What was the status of the NDFP-GPH peace negotiations before the arrest of the Tiamzon couple? What will now be consequences to the peace negotiations?

JMS: Before the arrest of the Tiamzon couple, the peace negotiations were paralyzed by the Aquino regime’s noncompliance with and violations of existing agreements between the NDFP and the Manila government. The imprisonment of JASIG-protected consultants has had adverse consequences to the peace negotiations.

RV: Do you have a message you would like to convey to Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria, and their five companions?

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JMS: Luis Jalandoni and the NDFP Negotiating Panel are working hard to demand their release in accordance with the JASIG. But the Aquino regime is extremely reactionary, narrow-minded and short- sighted. I told Marcos in 1977: you have imprisoned me but the revolutionary movement is free to grow in strength and advance. Imprisonment is an opportunity to perform an important form of service to the people. By manifesting their defiance, revolutionary prisoners can inspire the people to fight more fiercely for their national and social liberation.

RV: What is your message to the Aquino regime?

JMS: Respect the The Hague Joint Declaration and the JASIG and release the NDFP peace consultants. Respect the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and release the political prisoners imprisoned on trumped-up common crimes. Thus, there will be a sound basis for resuming the peace negotiations.
 

           
     
     

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Press Statement
March 23, 2014

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

Arrest of Tiamzon and Austria, a blow to peace negotiations--Karapatan

“A kick in the bucket of peace,” said Karapatan on the illegal arrest of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to the peace negotiations with the Government of the Philippines.

“This is another case of the government’s deceit in dealing with the counterparts in the peace negotiations. The GPH completely ignored previously signed agreements with the NDFP, especially the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees or JASIG. This is not the first time. In fact, there are 12 NDF peace consultants who are in jail because of trumped up criminal charges. Also, there are 10 NDF consultants who are victims of enforced disappearance,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Palabay added, “The GPH resorts to criminalization of political acts to cover up arrests conducted illegally, especially of those people who have clear ideological and political beliefs.”

Meanwhile, Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said the illegal arrest of Tiamzon and Austria “would not solve the root causes of rebellion in the country”. “Brandishing the illegal arrest of Tiamson and Austria like a trophy is insubstantial. Pursuing the peace negotiations would be more acceptable to the people who are clamouring for genuine reforms, especially on social-economic spheres. That would be justice.” Hilao-Enriquez is an independent observer in the peace negotiation between the GPH and the NDFP.

In a press statement, the NDFP said Wilma Austria is a holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND978226 under her real name; while Benito Tiamzon is the holder of NDFP Document of Idenfication ND978227 under the assumed name "Crising Banaag." The JASIG provides peace consultants ‘safe conduct and free passage for the duration of the peace negotiations’. ###
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Press Statement
March 26, 2014

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

Bounty for Tiamzon and Austria, a one-time bigtime organized racket - Karapatan

“Mukhang pinagkakakitaan pa ng gobyerno at militar ang iligal na pag-aresto at pagdukot ng mga peace consultants, mga aktibista at ordinaryong sibilyan,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the 10-million peso bounty each for the arrest of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria.

“The Aquino government’s practice of criminalizing political acts to cover up the illegal arrests of peace consultants, activists and civilians is legitimized by the highly questionable Joint memorandum 2012-14 of the Department of National Defense and of Interior and Local Government,” added Palabay.

Karapatan called the reward system as ‘one-time, big-time’ organized racket of the DILG and the DND and the list, a “secret hit list” akin to Gloria Arroyo’s Order of Battle.

The said hit-list carries the name of 236 alleged communist leaders with total reward money of P426 million for their capture. It was the same list that legitimized the illegal arrest, torture and detention of security guard Rolly Panesa, whom the military alleged CPP-NPA leader “Benjamin Mendoza” for P5.6 million. The money was awarded by the AFP to an unidentified person.

The same violation, Karapatan said, was committed against Oligario Sebas, a farmer from Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, who was also jailed because the AFP’s claimed he was “Felimon Mendrez”, allegedly a CPP leader in Negros.” The AFP said Sebas had a P5.2 million bounty on his head and was on the said list.

Also, the said DND-DILG Joint Order was used to legitimize the enforced disappearance, illegal arrest, and detention of Estelita T. Tacalan, a 60-year old peasant organizer and rural health worker in Misamis Oriental. Tacalan was reported missing on April 27, 2013 and was surfaced more than a week later at the Dipolog City Jail.

Tiamzon and Austria, with P10million each for their capture are in the said list, among other detained and missing peace consultants.

“The reward/bounty system is dangerous because it can be used to justify the victimization of any person so the military and police may get the reward money," Palabay said.

In earlier statements, Karapatan lambasted the joint memorandum saying “it is no different from the secret hit list of Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya which resulted to thousands of cases of human rights violations ranging from illegal arrest and detention, enforced disappearances and political killings.”

Karapatan called for the scrapping of the DND-DILG’s secret hitlist saying the “AFP should also be held accountable for squandering the people’s money to violate people rights”. ###
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News Release
25 March 2014

Stop the empty bragging; we want the “big fish”, rights victims tell BS Aquino

“We want the real “big fish” arrested, the real perpetrators of crimes against humanity,” said victims of human rights violations in reaction to BS Aquino’s overweening pride in the arrest of communist leaders Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria.

Families of victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances lambasted Malacanang statements that repeatedly called Tiamzon and Austria as the “big fish.”
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“Walang dapat ipagmalaki si Pang. Noynoy Aquino kasi ang hinuli niya ay yung kaaway NIYA, hindi ang kaaway ng mamamayan,” (Pres. Noynoy Aquino has nothing to be proud of because he only captured HIS enemy – NOT the people’s enemy), Desaparecidos secretary general Aya Santos stated. “We want Jovito Palparan, Joel Reyes and Mario Reyes arrested and jailed. It is not enough to increase the reward for the so-called “Big Five”. The question remains, where are the fugitives?”

“The Aquino government is mistaken to think that he can quash the revolutionary movement by illegally arresting its leaders. Until injustices, state violence and repression continue, more Filipinos, especially the oppressed, are ready to join the movement to seek social justice,” Santos said.

Santos is the daughter of Leo Velasco, missing NDFP consultant, who was abducted by suspected government forces in 2007. Her father is likewise protected by JASIG. Velasco remain is still missing to date.

In 2012, Pres. Aquino offered a reward of P2 million each for the arrest of the so-called Big Five, among them, Palparan, the Reyes brothers, and former Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr..

“We want plunderers, corrupt politicians and butchers punished, not the people who are part of the peace negotiations with the government. They are the real enemies of the people. They are the big fish,” said Ernan Baldomero, Hustisya vice-chairperson.

Ernan is the son of Fernando Baldomero, first victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino government.

“They arrest and detain critics and those who challenge the status quo, disregarding demands for justice and genuine reforms for the people.” Baldomero said Pres. Aquino’s stance on the arrest of Tiamzon and Austria, while letting the fugitives remain scot-free “is sickening”.

“We are appalled by Pres. Aquino’s empty bragging, using Tiamzon and Austria as trophies while simply shrugging off people’s clamor for the arrest of Palparan and the Reyeses who committed crimes against the people,” said Baldomero.

“The government has no right to talk peace if it continues to arrest and detain the other party to the negotiations. If BS Aquino wants to address the roots of the armed conflict, the killing, abduction, arrest and torture of dissenters of the government’s anti-people policies should end,” Baldomero added.

Groups Hustisya and Desaparecidos joined calls to resume the peace talks. ###


Reference:
Aya Santos, Secretary General, Desaparecidos (09088121982, 024354146)
Ernan Baldomero, Vice-Chairperson, Hustisya, (0905-4732505)
 

           
     
           

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NDFP condemns illegal arrest of NDFP Consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria
Luis Jalandoni
Chairperson
NDFP Negotiating Panel

March 22, 2014

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) condemns in the strongest terms the illegal arrest of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria by the Aquino regime’s security forces this afternoon in Carcar, Cebu.

Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria are NDFP Consultants who have fulfilled and are fulfilling highly significant tasks in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP/GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Wilma Austria is holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND978226 under her real name. She is holder of the Letter of Acknowledgment signed by then GRP Negotiating Panel Chairman Silvestre H. Bello III which states: The above named person is entitled to the safety and immunity guarantees asprovided under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) for the duration of the peace negotiations. You are hereby required to facilitate the safe conduct and free passage of the above named person.”

Benito Tiamzon is likewise the holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND 978227 under the assumed name “Crising Banaag”. He is likewise holder of a Letter of Acknowledgment signed by then GRP Negotiating Panel Chairman Silvestre H. Bello III.

The NDFP vigorously demands that Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria be immediately and unconditionally released.

This latest flagrant violation of the JASIG by the Aquino regime, in addition to so many other gross violations of the JASIG, most seriously prejudices the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.

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AFP hallucinating that arrest of Tiamzons will doom armed struggle
March 24, 2014
Communist Party of the Philippines

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) dismissed as “hallucinations” the claims by the armed forces that the recent arrest of CPP leaders and peace consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria spells doom for the armed struggle being waged by the New People’s Army (NPA).

“AFP chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista is self-delusional in believing that NPA Red fighters and revolutionaries would respond to his calls for them to surrender to the Aquino regime.

“Over the past three years under the Aquino regime, the people have gained nothing but failed promises as they experience widespread unemployment, low wages, high prices, land grabbing and landlessness and overall greater hardships,” said the CPP.

“In the countryside, in the vain attempt to perpetuate this backward economic and social system, the AFP continues to wage an unjust war of suppression against the people, committing widespread abuses of human rights, violating people’s domiciles, using schools and day-care centers as barracks, accosting anyone they suspect of involvement in political activism or self-organizing,” added the CPP.

“The AFP’s brutalities and widespread abuses continue to incite people to take up arms against the ruling system,” said the CPP. “Thus, on a daily basis, several hundred people, mostly peasants, enlist with the NPA, the people’s militia or barrio self-defense units.”

“With such deep-rooted causes for the armed conflict, the Aquino regime and the AFP are indeed hallucinating if they believe that the Tiamzons’ arrest will cause the armed struggle to dissipate.

“It is also hilarious for them to claim that the arrests will cause the revolutionary movement to become rudderless and too disorganized to sustain itself and pursue its objectives.

“The Communist Party of the Philippines has a system of orderly succession in place. It is comprised of over 150,000 dedicated cadres, with 15 regional committees, scores of subregional leading committees, more than 110 front committees and thousands of sections and branch committees that lead revolutionary work at various areas and levels,” said the CPP.

“Through its central and regional leadership organs, the CPP will continue to lead the New People’s Army in waging extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare in order to further advance the people’s war,” said the CPP.

The CPP reiterated its demand for the immediate release of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria and condemned their arrest as a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). “The Aquino regime is concocting one excuse after another to block the release of comrades Benito and Wilma.”

The CPP pointed out that the Aquino regime’s oft-repeated line that the NDFP cannot verify its consultants as they were registered under assumed names does not apply to Wilma Austria who is recognized as a consultant under her real name. “Now Malacañang is coming up with another excuse claiming that Ms. Austria had jumped bail in 1989, when that was later superseded by the recognition it gave her as a peace consultant in 1995 when the JASIG was signed.”

The CPP further condemns the filing of trumped-up criminal charges against Tiamzon and Austria. “Just like the tactic of the Arroyo regime, the Aquino regime is coming up with all possible concocted cases of murder and illegal possession of firearms in order to prolong the incarceration Tiamzon and Austria.” The CPP pointed out that Tiamzon and Austria where unarmed when they were accosted by military and police personnel.

 

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CPP condemns arrest of senior leaders investigating conditions, overseeing rehabilitation in the Visayas
March 23, 2014
Communist Party of the Philippines

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the reported arrest yesterday of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria. Tiamzon and Austria are both senior cadres of the CPP Central Committee and consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in peace negotiations with the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH).

At the time of their arrest, both Tiamzon and Austria were performing tasks and duties assigned to them by the CPP and the NDFP. Up to recently, both were busy conducting first hand investigation into the conditions of the working class people in the Visayas region whose lives were devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and who continue to suffer from the Aquino regime’s antipeople, crony-controlled, corrupt and grossly inept response to the calamity.

Both were closely monitoring the efforts of the New People’s Army (NPA) in carrying out rehabilitation work in devastated regions. They were receiving reports from NPA commands about efforts to mobilize Red fighters to help build communal farms, till the land and mobilize and distribute seeds and other agricultural resources from the NDFP.

Austria, who has been among the country’s stalwarts in upholding and bannering the rights of women, is gravely concerned with the situation of women and children after the calamity, and has been vigorously calling on all revolutionary forces to work hard to expose their sufferings and extend all possible effort to alleviate their conditions. She was utterly indignant at having learned that substantial amounts of relief goods had rotted at the Aquino government’s warehouses while the people of Tacloban continue to suffer from lack of food, shelter and income.

Tiamzon, himself, has been actively looking into the widespread devastation wrought by the storm on the agricultural economy and fishing communities of Eastern Visayas, Cebu, Panay and Negros. He was personally looking into studies estimating the actual damage on agriculture and fisheries to be at P75-80 billion, contrary to the Aquino regime’s grossly understated estimate of P15 billion which help justify the allocation of bigger funds to his crony’s big business infrastructure projects.

As peace consultants of the NDFP, the arrest of Tiamzon and Austria further imperil peace negotiations between the GPH and the NDFP. The CPP condemns the Aquino regime for outrightly violating the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) in carrying out the arrest and detention of Tiamzon and Austria. They are both publicly known figures in peace negotiations. The NDFP has further identified both Tiamzon and Austria as holders of documents of identification counter-verified by then officials of the GPH.

The CPP condemns the Aquino regime and its armed forces for filing a slew of trumped-up criminal charges against Tiamzon and Austria. The CPP condemns the media campaign being conducted by Malacañang and the AFP to demonize Tiamzon and Austria by depicting them as common criminals.

Such effort by the Aquino regime seeks to draw away attention from the public flak it is getting for its lies, corruption and ineptness, especially at the heels of its monumental failures in addressing the urgent demands of the people of the Visayas devastated by the supertyphoon. The Aquino regime is increasingly isolated from the people because of its contempt and disregard for the socio-economic conditions of millions of workers and peasants who suffer from its wrong economic policies that prioritize the interests of its cronies and its foreign big business bosses.

As leaders of the CPP, Tiamzon and Austria are the opposite of the landlord Aquino and his coterie of corrupt officials. Tiamzon and Austria are the epitome of simple living. Neither of them own a private home nor drive their own sportscar. Neither do they play with guns for fun or personal satisfaction. They are not like Aquino and his officials who plunder public funds to aggrandize themselves or perpetuate their political rule.

Despite their age and health conditions, both Tiamzon and Austria continue to travel great distances in the rural areas in order to reach the farthest peasant homes and be among the most downtrodden masses. Unlike Aquino who was totally clueless of the conditions of the people in the path of supertyphoon Yolanda, Tiamzon and Austria were among the peasant masses when the winds ravaged through the Visayas. Unlike Aquino who took four days to act, Tiamzon and Austria immediately mobilized the CPP’s forces to carry out relief work and help in the rehabilitation of the peasant masses who suffered grave devastation of their crops and livelihood.

The CPP demands the immediate release of Tiamzon and Austria, as well as all their companions, and the dropping of all criminal charges against them. The CPP demands that the Aquino regime accord them the right to counsel and medical attention. Austria has severe asthma, and suffers both from a serious kidney ailment and spinal bone degeneration secondary to osteoporosis and is in need of constant medical care.

The CPP, together with the workers, peasants and downtrodden masses and all their revolutionary forces, deplore the arrest of Tiamzon and Austria. Their arrest forms part of the general trend of repression under the Aquino regime. Daily, the landlord Aquino seeks to perpetuate the oppressive and exploitative system by unleashing his attack dogs, armed and supported with US military financing, against the peasant masses and workers, who stand up for their rights and voice their demands.

While the wisdom and guidance of individual leaders is important, the advance of the revolutionary struggle depends more on the collective wisdom, determination and organization of the revolutionary masses. The arrest of Tiamzon and Austria will not stop the main trend of advance of the people’s war.

It is the Aquino regime’s puppetry, corruption, brutality and mendacity that teach the Filipino people about the need to wage revolutionary resistance. They are thus ever determined to advance along the path of widespread mass struggles and revolutionary armed resistance in order to achieve national and social liberation.

           
     
 
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Pinoy Weekly: Arrest of Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria, violates immunity pact, says NDFP
 
           

 

Revolutionary women’s group calls for

release of Wilma Austria, others


From:
http://bulatlat.com/main/2014/03/26/revolutionary-womens-group-calls-for-release-of-wilma-austria-others/
 



MANILA — Wearing masks, members of Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Makibaka), an allied organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), staged a lightning rally, March 25 at downtown Carriedo -



Makibaka condemned the arrest of alleged top communist leaders Wilma Austria, Benito Tiamzon and five others and called for the immediate release of the two. Austria, Tiamzon and five others were arrested by state security forces on Saturday in Carcar, Cebu and are now detained at Camp Crame,


In a statement, Malaya Libertad, spokeswoman of Makibaka, described Austria as the “epitome of a revolutionary woman and cadre who should be exalted and not be incarcerated like an ordinary criminal.”




The underground women’s organization also marked the 43rd anniversary of Makibaka and the 45th anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.



 

Libertad called on women to join the revolution, which the group said, is “the only solution to the systemic crisis of the country.”

Photos by BOY BAGWIS
(http://bulatlat.com)

     
     
     
News photos
     
     
     
           

Pinoy Weekly: Revolutionary groups press for Tiamzons’ release, refute gov’t claims
 


News Release
March 24, 2014
References: Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, 09178350459
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, 09177174014

BAYAN MUNA: ARREST OF TIAMZON COUPLE MAY BE THE LAST STRAW THAT WILL BREAK THE PEACE TALKS’ BACK
Says Aquino administration should free Tiamzon couple for talks to advance

Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate today hit the Aquino administration for scuttling the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) by harassing, illegally arresting and even killing Jasig (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees) holders.

The latest violation of this agreement is the illegal arrest of Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma, who were arrested on Saturday in Barangay (village) Zaragosa, Aloguinsan town, about 60 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, along with five others—Rex Villaflor, Nona Castillo, Joel Enano, Jeosi, Nepa and Arlene Panea—whom the military described as “staff personnel” of the Tiamzon couple.

“Every Filipino dream of the day when just and lasting peace will come but, what will ever happen to the peace talks when the NDFP negotiators and their consultants are being constantly harassed, illegally arrested, forcibly disappeared and extra-judicially killed? Jose Ma. Sison was imprisoned in 2007 and his home and office were ransacked by the Dutch government on the prodding of the Philippine and US governments, now there are 12 NDF peace consultants who are in jail because of trumped up criminal charges. Also, there are 10 NDF consultants who are victims of enforced disappearance,” said the senior deputy minority leader.

“The arrest of the Tiamzon couple may be the last straw which will break the peace talk’s back and we urge the Aquino administration to immediately free them for the peace talks to advance,” added the progressive solon.

“Where is the seriousness of the Aquino administration in the peace talks when they are violating the past agreements? This is what the Aquino administration is doing and what is worse is that they are doing it with impunity,” said Rep. Colmenares.

“Again this is the product of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Order No. 14-2012 which lists alleged “235 wanted communists” with a total updated monetary reward of P466.88 million. We have long been calling for the junking and deactivation of this hit list for supposed members of the CPP/NPA/NDF with rewards for their arrest or neutralization which is just being used by officials to collect reward money,” said the lawmaker.
As for his part Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, said “We already filed House Resolution 441 calling for the resumption of the peace talks and the release of all NDFP consultants last September to jump start the talks, but with what is happening it seems that the administration wants to kill the peace talks,”
“We also take exception to the statement of Department of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima, that the arrest was legal saying that there are no talks ongoing, because as per given information there are ongoing exploratory talks between the two parties and it would be derailed by this arrest,” said Rep. Zarate.
“The Aquino administration should free all NDFP consultants for the peace talks to continue because as it is they are the ones sowing bad faith and sabotaging the peace talks” ended Rep. Colmenares. ###
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Press Statement
23 March 2014

On the arrest of NDFP consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon

We condemn the Aquino government for arresting National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, together with five of their comrades. We are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the couple and their comrades.

The Tiamzons are consultants in the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP and should be immune from arrest and detention according to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

Their arrest clearly shows that the Aquino government is destroying the peace talks and is not interested in seeking a peaceful resolution to the ongoing armed conflict between the GPH and the NPA through the said talks.

Aquino clearly knew of the surveillance operations leading to the Tiamzons’ arrest, as shown by his announcement, made a few days before the arrest, that a “high-profile fugitive” will be arrested.

It is disgusting that Aquino was referring to the Tiamzons when he made the announcement, given his government’s failure to arrest and imprison top human-rights violators, plunderers, smugglers, tax evaders, and other high criminals. Human-rights violator and former general Jovito Palparan could not be happier with the Tiamzons’ arrest.

We condemn the Aquino government’s plan to file multiple murder and frustrated murder charges against the couple. This is a violation of the Hernandez Doctrine, which states that crimes committed in the course of a rebellion should be subsumed by rebellion charges.

The Tiamzons’ arrest is surely aimed at causing a “chilling effect” among critics of Aquino at a time when the chief executive continues to earn the people’s ire for his defense of the pork barrel system, criminal negligence when super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the country, and implementation of anti-worker and anti-poor policies.

If Aquino thinks that the Tiamzons’ arrest will silence his critics, then he is seriously mistaken. Unemployment, poverty and hunger, the very reasons for the continuing strength of the armed insurgency in the country, persist.

The claim that the couple has been under surveillance immediately after Yolanda hit Leyte may imply that US military troops who were stationed in the province at the time may have been involved. This angle should be investigated as this constitutes intervention into the country’s domestic affairs.

The celebration with which the Aquino government is greeting the Tiamzons’ arrest clearly belies its numerous statements belittling the communist-led armed insurgency in the country.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597
 


HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 991
Introduced by BAYAN MUNA
Reps. CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE and NERI J. COLMENARES

RESOLUTION
DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, INTO THE ILLEGAL ARREST AND DETENTION OF ALLEGED HIGH RANKING COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES (CPP) CADRES, BENITO TIAMZON AND WILMA AUSTRIA AND THEIR FIVE COMPANIONS AND THE SERIES OF VIOLATIONS OF THE JOINT AGREEMENT ON SAFETY AND IMMUNITY GUARANTEES (JASIG) SIGNED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES (GPH) AND THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES (NDFP) THAT IMPERIL THE PEACE PROCESS BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES AND THE JUST APPROACH FOR A PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT TO THE ARMED CONFLICT

WHEREAS, Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma Austria, said to be top-ranking leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines were arrested on Saturday, March 22 in Barangay (village) Zaragosa, Aloguinsan town, about 60 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, along with five others—Rex Villaflor, Nona Castillo, Joel Enano, Jeosi Nepa and Arlene Panea—whom the military described as “staff personnel” of the Tiamzon couple;

WHEREAS, the Tiamzon couple showed their documents of identification as NDFP consultants to the peace process proving that they are covered by Joint Agreement on the Safety Immunity and Guarantees (JASIG) signed by the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) but the arresting teams disregarded said safety and immunity guarantee, arrested, sued and detained the Tiamzon group;

WHEREAS, last March 24, the seven were subjected to inquest proceedings on fabricated charge of illegal possession of firearms, weapons and ammunition based on planted evidence that they were in possession of four pistols, two hand grenades and ammunitions. When they were arrested, no such evidence were reported and recorded by the arresting teams in Cebu;

WHEREAS, Department of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima, may have been misinformed that the arrest was legal saying that there are no talks ongoing, because as per given information the peace negotiations are not formally terminated and there are ongoing exploratory talks to break the impasse on the peace negotiation. The JASIG is also still in effect until both parties have cancelled it;

WHEREAS, the arrest and detention of the Tiamzon couple and their companions are blatant violation of JASIG and will further imperil the peace talks between the GPH and NDFP;

WHEREAS, the arrest of the couple along with the series of arrests and detention against 10 other NDF peace consultants highlights the government’s reneging its commitment to release most of the detained JASIG-protected consultants and personnel of the NDFP;

WHEREAS, this unfortunate event shows bad faith on the part on Pres. Aquino who declares that he is still interested in pursuing peace negotiations with the NDFP but at the same time gave approval to the military and police’s concerted effort to harass, arrest, detain and even neutralize NDFP peace consultants and personnel;

WHEREAS, concerned sectors are calling on the Aquino administration to review and reconsider the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) active ‘witchhunt’ on peace consultants and NDFP personnel;

WHEREAS, peace and human rights advocates also call on the Aquino administration to review and rescind the practice of creating a bounty list such as the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Order No. 14-2012 that lists 235 “alleged wanted communists” with a total updated monetary reward of P466.88 Million, which give pecuniary interest for state agents to either arrest or kill fall guys like in the case of security guard Rolly Panesa and disrespect to the agreement signed by the GPH with the NDFP;

WHEREAS, peace and human rights advocates are asking Congress to look into the correctness of the Aquino administration’s virtual scuttling of the peace negotiations with the NDFP and concluding peace talks with the MILF which may be considered as a form of divide-and-rule tactic, as well as a pacification tactic instead of addressing the root causes of armed conflicts and pursuing just and lasting peace;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives direct the Committee of Human Rights to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the illegal arrest and detention of alleged high ranking Communist Party of The Philippines (CPP) cadres, Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria and their five companions and the series of violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) that imperil the process between the two parties and the just approach for a peaceful settlement to the armed conflict.

Adopted,

Rep. CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE     Rep. NERI J. COLMENARES

Bayan Muna Party-list                                  Bayan Muna Party-list

 

     

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MARCH 25, 2014
'Opapp, de Lima wrong, Jasig still operative’ – NDFP

“OPAPP [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process] Secretary Deles and Alexander Padilla are setting obstacles to the application of JASIG. They violate the letter and spirit of the JASIG. They cannot declare as ‘inoperative’ a solemn peace agreement approved by the Principals of both Parties.” – Luis Jalandoni, NDFP

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) maintained that the alleged top leaders of the communist movement who were arrested a few days ago Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria are covered by the safety and immunity pact and should therefore be released.

In an email interview, NDFP peace panel chairman Luis Jalandoni told Bulatlat.com that Wilma Austria and Benito Tiamzon, both NDFP consultants, are covered by the protection of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig). The NDFP said Austria is holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND978226 under her real name and Tiamzon is the holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND 978227 under the assumed name “Crising Banaag.”

Austia, Tiamzon and five others were arrested by state security forces in Carcar, Cebu Saturday March 22. They are now detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

In a statement, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel said the failure of the verification process of Jasig-protected persons has rendered Jasig inoperative. The GPH panel said that the NDFP, in July 2011, failed to open the files containing the identities of Jasig-protected individuals. The GPH panel did not mention, however, that the diskettes containing the files were among those taken by the Dutch police during a raid of the NDFP office in Utrecht, the Netherlands in August 2007. The diskettes were eventually returned but could no longer be opened.


Luis Jalandoni

“OPAPP [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process] Secretary Deles and Alexander Padilla are setting obstacles to the application of JASIG. They violate the letter and spirit of the JASIG. They cannot declare as ‘inoperative’ a solemn peace agreement approved by the Principals of both Parties,” Jalandoni told Bulatlat.com.

Signed in 1995 by then the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP, Jasig provides all duly accredited persons guaranteed free and unhindered passage in all areas in the Philippines, and in travelling to and from the Philippines in connection with the performance of their duties in the negotiations. Duly accredited persons are those in possession of documents of identification (DI) or safe conduct passes. Immunity guarantees for all accredited persons include immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations.

In a separate interview, Edre Olalia, legal consultant of the NDFP peace panel, said either party could not unilaterally declare Jasig as inoperative. “Under Jasig, either party can suspend or terminate Jasig through a written notice and such would take effect 30 days after the notice,” Olalia explained.

Olalia said the 30-day period is necessary to secure all persons involved in the peace talks.

Olalia reminded OPAPP that the objectives of Jasig are “to facilitate the peace talks, create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and to avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace talks.”

In a report by alternative media outfit Davao Today, former GRP panel chairman Silvestre Bello III said “the JASIG took effect upon signing by the parties and will be in effect until it is terminated by either party through a written notice.”

The GPH has so far not issued a formal notice suspending or terminating the Jasig.

Olalia said further that there are many other means to verify the identity of Jasig-protected persons other than opening the diskettes. He likewise pointed out that Austria and Tiamzon are publicly known NDFP peace consultants.

The use of aliases, meanwhile, has been the practice of some NDFP consultants since 1995, Olalia said.

Olalia said that Jasig was formulated to avoid a repeat of the tragic incidents after the collapse of the 1986 peace talks. “After the collapse of talks, many of those identified in the peace talks were detained or disappeared or killed.”

“It is thus commonsensical that if the government wants to encourage people to help in the peace negotiations, there has to be assurance that they would not suffer any reprisal,” Olalia said.

Peace negotiations still on

Jalandoni said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is wrong in stating that there are no peace negotiations just because the two panels have not been meeting.

“In the past, there were times that the two panels were not meeting, because the talks were stalled, or there was an adjournment or recess, but the peace negotiations are still on,” Jalandoni said.

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The NDFP panel chairman added that despite the impasse, the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law is still functioning and there was a time the reciprocal working committees on socio-economic reforms were meeting. Jalandoni said that just recently, he, Coni Ledesma, NDFP panel member and NDFP political consultant Vicente Ladlad met with GPH panel chairman Alexander Padilla and Royal Norwegian Embassy Official on the Royal Norwegian Government’s (RNG) proposal for informal talks to be held in Oslo this May. The RNG has been serving as the third party facilitator of the GPH-NDFP peace talks.

“So, it is a mistaken stand of Secretary de Lima, that the JASIG is not valid and binding because there are no peace negotiations,” Jalandoni explained.

Jalandoni also said that De Lima’s position that the Jasig should not undermine the GPH justice system is also wrong. Jalandoni stated that then GRP President Fidel Ramos issued on September 19, 1995 the Executive Order No. 276 Formalizing the Inter-Agency Safety And Immunity Guarantees (SIG) Committee for the GRP-NDFP Peace Talks.

“This is a GRP executive order effective immediately, part of the GRP/GPH justice system, setting up a permanent committee to oversee the implementation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and to resolve problems arising from the same,” Jalandoni said.

Binding

For his part, Olalia said domestic law could not be used as an excuse for non-compliance with binding international agreements. Jasig, he said, is a binding international agreement.

Citing the principle in international law of pacta sunt sevanda (promises/agreements must be kept), Olalia said agreements and their clauses must be kept/performed in good faith and are binding between parties.

In November 2011, 13 legal experts from the US, Europe, Latin America, Africa, South Asia and the Philippines issued a statement urging the GPH to respect and comply with previously signed agreements between the GPH and NDFP. Jan Fermon, one of the members of the International Legal Advisory Team (Ilat) said, “Agreements are binding and not only pieces of paper,” Fermon said. “One of the basic principles of international law is that agreements must be executed in good faith. There are no documents without obligation.”

Olalia said the Aquino administration is “undermining Jasig by fabricating common crimes against their clients.”

A serious blow to the peace talks

Jalandoni said the recent arrests are “a flagrant violation of the JASIG and most seriously prejudice the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.”

“GPH President Aquino shows he is more interested in imprisoning a few leaders of the revolutionary movement than in pursuing urgently needed peace negotiations with the NDFP. Refusing to respect binding and valid bilateral peace agreements, he is in fact responsible for killing the peace negotiations with the NDFP,” Jalandoni said.

Asked to comment on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) statement calling on the revolutionary movement to lay down arms, Jalandoni said, “The AFP is hallucinating in thinking that the revolutionary movement will surrender and give up the revolutionary struggle. In the face of worsening exploitation and oppression and the escalation of human rights violations of the regime, the people’s armed and non-armed resistance will grow stronger. As the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) stated recently, on a daily basis hundreds, mostly peasants, join the NPA [New People’s Army], the people’s militia and self-defense units of mass organizations.” (http://bulatlat.com)

- From:
http://bulatlat.com/main/2014/03/25/opapp-de-lima-wrong-jasig-still-operative-ndfp/#sthash.JlZhLW05.dpuf

           
     
     

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KM condemns Tiamzons’ capture, part of Aquino’s bienvenida gift to Obama

Ma. Laya Guerrero
Spokesperson
Kabataang Makabayan

March 22, 2014

The Kabataang Makabayan (KM), revolutionary mass organization of the youth condemns in the highest terms the illegal arrest of Ka Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon, and other comrades by the combined forces of the Philippine military, CIDG and local police in Cebu.

“Almost three weeks before the reported arrival of US President Obama, the Aquino is one by one revealing the bienvinida gift to Obama like a very true lackey,” said KM spokesperson Ma. Laya Guerrero.

KM demands the unconditional release of the Tiamzons who also serve as NDFP consultants.

According to KM, the arrest of the Ka Wilma and Benito Tiamzons and companions are so far on Aquino’s palpable top list of gifts to US imperialism, including the increased presence and stationing of United States armed forces and lethal weapons in the shores and land of the country, and the push for Charter change in favor of full foreign equity to land, services and investments in the country in exchange of Aquino’s pogi points.

“The AFP’s and the fascist Aquino regime claims that the revolution will be crippled with their capture of the Tiamzons is sinking propaganda.”

“So long as the country is mired with poverty and injustice, so long as the Aquino government stinks with corruption and never heed the peoples most basic needs and rights, the more youth will rise up and seek for revolutionary change.”

“So long as ordinary people face the oppressive pangs of the state forces under the fascist Oplan Bayanihan, the more youth will emerge, embrace revolution and join the formidable ranks of the New Peoples Army to overthrow this rotten system maintained by Aquino regime and his military,” said Guerrero.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
26 March 2014

Condemn the Capture of NDFP Consultants as a Grand Gift for Obama – LFS

The League of Filipino Students (LFS) strongly criticises the illegal arrest and detention of Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, and 5 others – National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants and allegedly top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

This illegal arrest is deemed as a “victory” of the Aquino regime for his imperialist master, US President Barack Obama who is expected to arrive in the Philippines this April. BS Aquino celebrates the capture of suspected communist leaders by expecting congratulatory remarks from the US imperialist chieftain that will further lead to heightened economic intervention and increased deployment of US troops all over the country.
 

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There is no truth behind the government’s argument that the US troops will defend the country from the aggression of China. As a matter of fact, the increased presence of US military forces will only be continuously used to counter insurgence and liberation movements to ensure the domination of the imperialist US and its local landlords and big businessmen.

It is expected that the puppet Aquino government and its imperialist master will use this illegal arrest as another excuse in trampling our national sovereignty, even at the expense of the people.

LFS debunks the charges that the US-Aquino regime filed against the NDFP consultants which they cite as “crimes against humanity” and rather charge it to the DND-AFP-PNP and to the US troops who are reigning supreme as human rights violators in the Philippines. Most civilians even say that if not for the presence of the armed revolutionaries in their places, gross crimes by the military forces would have been done to them.

The Tiamzons, despite risky threats against them pursued areas where Yolanda victims were, contrary to the immobility and uselessness of BS Aquino who only did hypocrite show-ups and press-releases that included the “help” of US troops who were highly armed with nuclear weapons. Aquino and the US troops only facilitated the division of the Eastern Visayas Region into lands owned by different local and foreign corporations through grabbing lands from the survivors which are mostly farmers.

The arrest of the Tiamzons are illegal and thus further dims the possibility of continuing the peace talks between the Manila-based government (GPH) and the CPP-NPA-NDFP for the GPH violated its co-signed pact, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). BS Aquino himself has placed the hopeful negotiation into nothing.

Aquino government is consistently disrespectful to JASIG. Even before the arrest of the Tiamzons, the Aquino government continues to ignore the immunity of different peace consultants from the NDFP panel: illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, and refusal to release them.

Benito Tiamzon, a sociology student of UP, is indeed a revolutionary example that patriotic students must emulate who, instead of pursuing personal success rather chose the path to serve the people.

No matter what positions the Tiamzons may have in the revolutionary underground movement, the LFS believes that this will not stop the Filipino people in fighting for their aspirations of national liberation and social justice in any militant or revolutionary means.

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REFERENCES:
Charlotte Velasco, LFS National Spokesperson
(63) 926 144 1964
Aries Gupit, LFS Deputy Secretary General
(63) 905 331 3902 ; (63) 939 767 3904

 

           
           
           
           

 

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