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PNP coordinating with AFP for arrest of Tiamzon couple

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Debold Sinas on Monday said concerned police units, including the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, have been tasked to coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the arrest of convicted couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

"We received already the directive of the SILG (Secretary of the Interior and Local Government) to initiate police actions and coordinate with our counterpart for the tracking of the Tiamzon couple," Sinas said at a press briefing.

"I have already directed our CIDG to get a copy of the conviction sa court para maging reference po namin and we have tasked our different intelligence units, lalo na sa IG, to coordinate with the AFP counterpart for the possible arrest," he added.

Authorities are hoping that the Tiamzons would surrender. Sinas vowed that the PNP would facilitate their surrender and transfer to the jail where they will be detained.

"We are hoping makipagugnayan sila sa amin kung gusto nilang sumuko. We are willing to facilitate their surrender and bring them to the appropriate court and jail to serve their sentence," Sinas said.

Sinas said at present, police have no information on the whereabouts of the couple.

Last Friday, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216 found the couple guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years of imprisonment.

The couple were arrested in 2014 in Barangay Zaragoza in Aloguinsan, Cebu by joint forces of the police and military.

The Tiamzons were released from detention in August 2016 to participate as consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the political wing of the CPP.

The Tiamzons' lawyers, meanwhile, said they would appeal the court's decision. Rachel Pastores, one of their lawyers, said her clients were "unable to defend themselves in court because of threats to their lives." — RSJ, GMA News