QC court sentenced Tiamzon couple to 40 years imprisonment

CALOOCAN CITY, Nov. 29 (PIA) -- A court in Quezon City has convicted National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leaders Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria of kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

A report by PTV News said the accused were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years imprisonment and were ordered to pay complainant Army officer Lt. Abraham Claro Casis ₱75,000 each for moral, civil indemnity, and exemplary damages.

The conviction stemmed from the abduction of Casis and other military personnel on June 1, 1988 in Brgy. Taguan, Candelaria, Quezon.

“The accused Benito Tiamzon and accused Wilma Austria were positively identified by the complainant Lt. Abraham Claro Casis as the persons responsible for his kidnapping and illegal detention,” the court decision read.

The Tiamzons were arrested in 2014 but were freed in 2016 to join the peace talks between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF. Another arrest was ordered in 2018 following the halt in peace talks.

The military believes the conviction has significant impact on the government’s fight against rebellion, considering that the couple who remain at large are being tagged as leaders of the communist group.

“Dapat talaga sumuko na sila sapagkat ‘di hihinto ang Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas sa ating pagsisikap na muli silang maibalik sa kulungan lalo na ngayon na mayron silang malaking pananagutan sa batas,” AFP Spokesperson MGen. Edgard Arevalo warned.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson BGen Ildebrandi Usana said the conviction is “another success story on the efficiency of our prosecutors and investigators who secured the validity of evidence presented during trial.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra welcomed the outcome of the trial as “a victory for the prosecution.”

Wilma Austria’s lawyer said they would appeal the ruling.

“Basta ang sinasabi ko, it puts an issue whether there is really positive identification after all these years, and whether it is politically motivated,” Atty. Edre Olalia stated. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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