Tiamzons ask court not to send them back to jail
Weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte announced the formal cancelation of the peace talks with the communists, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon urged a Manila court not to cancel their bail amid the “overwhelming” calls to resume the negotiations.
In their joint comment filed before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 on Wednesday, the Tiamzon couple, together with National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant Adelberto Silva, said the government peace panel had yet to send the NDF negotiating panel a written notice of termination of the peace talks.
“Wherefore, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that the prosecution’s motion be denied for lack of a formal written notice of termination by the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) negotiating panel to the NDFP peace panel,” said the legal counsel of the accused, Public Interest Law Center and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, in the comment.
“[O]r in the alternative, that the resolution on the motion be deferred so as not to render moot and academic the efforts and overwhelming calls toward the resumption of the peace negotiations,” they added.
The joint comment was filed in response to the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s December 8 Motion for Recommitment and Cancellation of Bail.
The defense team pointed out that Duterte had been flip-flopping on the government’s engagement with the communists, as recently proven in his December 8 statement that the impasse was just a “cooling off” period with the NDF.
This was a few days after he issued Proclamation No. 374 declaring the CPP, and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorist groups. He earlier issued Proclamation No. 360 declaring the cancelation of the peace talks with the NDF.
“Twice before, he has backtracked on his decision. Based on the President’s public statements, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) precipitously filed motions for recommitment in February 2017 and then in August 2017, a position later proven unwise and incorrect,” the legal counsels said.
This compelled the government negotiating panel to file an ad cautelam manifestation, “clarifying that there was no formal termination of the peace talks yet, to counter motions by the OSG,” they said.
“Thus, great caution and circumspection in the appreciation and interpretation of the President’s words is more than required now,” they added.
The Tiamzons and Silva were released in August last year in time for the resumption of the peace talks.
They were all charged with multiple counts of murder for allegedly killing civilians whose bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Leyte in 1986. /cbb
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