Communists deny news of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon’s arrest in Norway
DAVAO CITY – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines denied on Wednesday a report claiming that the communist power couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were arrested in Norway, dismissing the news as fake.
Fidel Agcaoili, chief peace negotiator of the NDFP, which had been facing the Philippine government in the now scuttled peace negotiations, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the Tiamzons, like the rest of the peace consultants, have returned to the Philippines.
A report in the website www.metro-uk.com claimed that the Tiamzons were arrested by the International Police (Interpol) in Oslo.
“According to the reports, the two were in their hideout in the Norway capital Oslo when they were arrested,” the website posted.
NDFP consultant Randy Malayao said that the couple even attended a forum at the University of the Philippines-Diliman last Saturday just before the government announced their re-arrest.
“It’s fake news,” Malayao said.
The Tiamzons, along with 11 other peace consultants, are being hunted down by local authorities after President Duterte suspended the negotiations with the NDFP and announced the withdrawal of its recognition of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), which protected rebel negotiators from arrest during the peace talks.
The consultants are out on bail after the courts agreed that their temporary liberty would help in the peace negotiations.
On Monday, consultant Ariel Arbitrario was arrested in a military checkpoint in Davao City.
The NDFP lambasted the arrest and the manhunt targeting negotiators asserting that it totally removed opportunities for finding a resolution to the conflict by peaceful means.
Meanwhile, peace groups are appealing to the Philippine government under the Duterte administration and the NDFP to continue talking, adding that the people and communities would suffer most if violence were allowed to escalate. SFM
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