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Tiamzons no shows in arraignment for illegal gun possession

/ 07:16 PM August 12, 2014

Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army chief Benito Tiamzon (left) and his wife, Wilma (right). INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

TOLEDO CITY, Cebu, Philippines — The lawyers of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria Tiamzon, the alleged top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), who were arrested months ago, has asked the court to drop the criminal charges against their clients, saying the firearms and explosives the military claimed to have found in their possession during their arrest were “planted.”

Lawyers Rachel Pastores, Ian Vincent Manticajon, Edre Olalia and Ian Sapayan appeared on Tuesday, before Judge Ruben Altubar of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 29 in Toledo City, to explain their motion for reconsideration on the indictment of their clients.

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The motion was filed during what was supposed to be the arraignment of the couple —believed to be the CPP chairman and the CPP secretary general respectively—for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition under Section 1 of Republic Act 9516.  Three others who were with the Tiamzons at the time of their arrest—Joel Enano, Arlene Panea and Rex Villaflor—have been charged with the same offenses.

The arraignment did not push through as none of the accused showed up.

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Two other companions Nona Castillo and Jeosi Nepa are charged with violating RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

Judge Altubar, the presiding judge for the case, asked the prosecution to submit a comment on the motion filed by the defense.

Pastores told the court that they submitted the motion through registered mail on Aug. 7.

The prosecution was given 15 days to file the comment after which the defense will also file their reply before the motion for reconsideration will be submitted for resolution.

Pastores told reporters in an interview that the arrest of the Tiamzon couple and five others were “unlawful.”

“We insisted in our motion for reconsideration that the court look at the affidavits of the accused. The (pieces of) evidence that led to the charging of illegal possession of firearms and explosives case are clearly planted,” she said.

Pastores added that they emphasized in their motion that the five other companions of the Tiamzons should not be arrested since they were only accompanying the couple in their activities.

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Judge Altubar earlier denied the motion to dismiss the criminal cases against the accused, saying enough evidence has been presented to bring the accused to trial.

He issued a commitment order detaining the Tiamzons in the PNP detention center at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

The Tiamzon couple, he said, should stay at Camp Crame for security reasons, considering their pending multiple murder cases before RTC Branch 13 in Hilongos, Leyte.

Altubar, however, issued a commitment order for the transfer of Enano, Panea, Villaflor, Castillo and Nepa from their detention in Camp Crame to the Cebu Provincial Detention Center (CPDRC) in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City.

Meanwhile, Pastores also said they filed a motion to reduce the bail for Castillo and Nepa from P120,000 to P60,000 each, since they were only charged of violating the RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

The Tiamzons and their companions were arrested in Brgy. Zaragosa, Aloguinsan, Cebu, last March 2014.

The alleged communist officials had an arrest warrant for “crimes against humanity” including murder, multiple murder and frustrated murder cases in Northern Samar.

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TAGS: Arlene Panea and Rex Villaflor, Armed conflict, Benito Tiamzon, Communist Party of the Philippines, communist rebellion, courts, Crime, defense lawyers, Edre Olalia, Ian Sapayan, Ian Vincent Manticajon, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, Insurgency, Joel Enano, Justice, law, litigation, New People's Army, News, Rachel Pastores, rebellion, Regions, Republic Act 9516, trials, Wilma Austria
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