DOJ: Tiamzons can’t invoke Jasig
MANILA, Philippines—Arrested communist leaders Benito and Wilma Austria Tiamzon cannot invoke the Joint Agreement of Safety and Immunity Guarantee (Jasig) to escape arrest, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said Monday.
Currently, De Lima said Jasig could only be invoked if there is an ongoing peace negotiation.
“Right now, there is no peace negotiation between the government panel and the National Democratic Front (NDF) and therefore, Jasig is not operational. Jasig also applies only to matters relating to the peace process. It cannot cover matters outside or beyond the scope of the peace negotiation,” De Lima told reporters.
Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were accused of being involved in the killing of 15 civilians at Sitio (sub-village) Sapang Daco, Barangay (village) Kaulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte in 1985. The bodies were discovered in a mass grave by members of the Philippine Army’s 43rdInfantry Brigade on Aug. 26, 2006.
“There are outstanding warrants of arrests. Dalawa yung alam ko na confirmed, yung tungkol sa mass grave sa Inopacan sa Leyte and there’s another case in Northern Samar, and therefore, tama lang na i-implement ng PNP at AFP ang warrant,” De Lima said.
“I don’t think you’re being Jasig-covered can shield you from the operations of the criminal justice system,” De Lima added.
The DOJ chief further stressed that the Jasig mechanism is not meant to undermine the criminal justice system, especially in the case of the Tiamzon couple since the warrants for their arrest have not been nullified to make the arrest illegal.
“The existing warrants of arrests have not been nullified so it’s presumed to be valid and regular and has been issued in the ordinary course of things. It went through the right process so pwede sya i-implement,” she added.
But de Lima said the Tiamzon’s could still avail of other legal remedies such as the filing of a plea for habeas corpus.
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