Tiamzon couple kept in jail despite release orders

“There is no reason for them (Tiamzons) not to be released.”

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants Wilma Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon remain in jail despite issuance of release orders from four local courts.

Rachel Pastores, one of the lawyers of the NDFP consultants, said Philippine National Police Custodial Center jail warden Arnel Apud has refused to release the two due to technicality.

Pastores said Apud insists on getting a hard copy of the release order from a local court in Laoang, Northern Samar. An electronic copy of the order, verified by the clerk of court, has been sent to Apud. The said local court has sent a hard copy through a courier service, which is expected to be delivered today in the afternoon at Camp Crame.

“There is no reason for them (Tiamzons) not to be released,” Pastores said during a press conference, Aug. 18.

Pastores noted that President Rodrigo Duterte himself publicly announced he would free the Tiamzons so they could participate in the formal peace talks.

NDFP consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Tiamzon raise their clenched fists before the start of the Aug. 10 hearing at a Manila local court. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea)
NDFP consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Tiamzon raise their clenched fists before the start of the Aug. 10 hearing at a Manila local court. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea)

Pastores told Bulatlat she could not understand why Apud refuses to free the Tiamzon couple. She said that in July this year, Apud released a detainee after receiving an electronic copy of a release order from the same local court in Laoang.

Earlier this week, the three other local courts in Manila, Quezon City and Cebu granted the urgent motions for release on bail of the Tiamzon couple.

Activists and supporters are set to hold a protest in front of Camp Crame today to demand the release of Tiamzons.

Yesterday, NDFP consultant Adelberto Silva was freed on bail from Camp Bagong Diwa detention facility.

As of last night, 12 NDFP consultants have been released on bail while one has been freed after all the charges against him were dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Two other political prisoners, couple Alex and Winona Birondo, who are both suffering from diabetes, were released on humanitarian grounds.

The urgent motions for release on bail were filed following the Aug. 5 resolution of the Supreme Court calling on local courts to give appropriate priority to cases involving NDFP consultants. In its en banc resolution, the high court said “the peace negotiations shall resume in the higher interest of peace and national security.”

The temporary liberty of NDFP consultants is only for the duration of the peace talks.
Other conditions imposed by the GRP panel include returning to the Philippines after the formal peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway and reporting to the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Norway whenever required. The GRP panel also maintained that once the participation of the NDFP consultants ceases or the peace negotiations are terminated, their respective bonds shall be automatically canceled. ()

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