QC Court finds Tiamzon couple guilty of kidnapping, serious illegal detention
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has found the couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of three military officers and a member of a narcotics command.
In an 18-page decision, QCRTC Branch 216 Presiding Judge Alfonso C. Ruiz II meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years of imprisonment for both the accused.
They were also ordered to pay complainant Lieutenant Abraham Claro Casis P75,000 as moral damages; P75,000 as civil indemnity; and P75,000 as exemplary damages.
The case is about the kidnapping of Lieutenants Clariton Santos, Oscar Singson, Rommel Salamanca, and Abraham Casis of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and of Sergeant John Jacob of the Philippine Narcotics Command in Quezon province in 1988.
However, the case against the two was filed in court only in 2003 or after 15 years.
The Tiamzon couple pleaded not guilty but the court said they were positively identified by the complainant as among those who took part in the kidnapping.
“This court finds no reason to disbelieve the testimony of complainant considering that his narration of facts was straightforward, categorical and in accord with the natural course of things,” the court said.
“The truth of his testimony conforms to common knowledge, observation and experience of mankind if taken under the facts surrounding the case. Accordingly, his testimony deserves full faith and credit,”the court added.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the court’s decision is “a victory for the prosecution, so as SOJ I am happy about the outcome of the trial.”
Aside from the kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases, the Tiamzons are also facing a separate case for murder following the discovery of a mass grave in Leyte which is believed to be where victims of communist purge during the 1980s have been buried.
The couple were arrested in 2014. Two years later, or in August 2016, they were released from detention and participated in the peace negotiations as consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. A year later, they met President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.
In 2018, the Manila Court ordered the Tiamzon couple‘s re-arrest but they have yet to be taken into custody.
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