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Manila court orders re-arrest of Tiamzon couple

A Manila court has ordered the re-arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon following the request of the government, which terminated the peace talks with the rebels last November. 

Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 granted on January 11 the Department of Justice's motion for recommitment and cancellation of the P100,000-bail of the Tiamzons and rebel leader Adelberto Silva. 

"Having judiciously evaluated the contentions of the parties, they find that the recommitment and the cancellation of the respective bail bonds of accused Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Tiamzon and Silva are warranted under the facts at hand," the order stated. 

"Inarguably, the sole reason for their grant was to enable said accused to participate in the peace process."

The Tiamzons are among the accused in the murder case which stemmed from the discovery of the mass grave in Leyte containing suspected victims of communist rebel purge in the 1980s. 

They were released from detention in August 2016 to join the peace negotiations as consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. 

"A motion for reconsideration, even if seemingly a long shot under the present circumstances, remains a legal option," Edre Olalia, counsel for the Tiamzons, said. 

Olalia maintained that the peace negotiations have not yet been terminated properly and "in accordance with the solemn and binding protocol mutually agreed upon by the parties."

"A unilateral declaration by one side without the proper written notice duly receipted by the other, no matter how categorical yet at the same unjustified, does not make the grade and does not bind the latter," he added. 

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 360 last November 23, declaring the termination of peace talks with the communist rebels due to the latter's continued attacks on government forces and civilians. 

The President also labeled the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as terror organizations with the DOJ expected to file a petition in the trial court soon to legally declare them as terror groups under the Human Security Act (Republic Act 9372).  — MDM/RSJ, GMA News