One of two kidnapping case against Tiamzons dismissed

Press Statement

April 16, 2015

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

One of the two kidnapping charges against peace consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria Tiamzon was dismissed yesterday by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 81. Sgt. John Jacob, complainant-witness in one of the cases, failed to appear in court at yesterday’s pre-trial hearing, which resulted to the dismissal of one of the charges.

The said hearing was held at the Training Service of the Camp Crame PNP General Headquarters, instead of the usual Quezon City Hall of Justice. The court transferred the venue of the trial, purportedly due to “security reasons,” within Camp Crame , meters away from the PNP Custodial Center where the two are detained.

The other kidnapping case which has four other complainants will proceed to trial because Lt. Abraham Casis, one of the complainants suddenly appeared in court. “We are wondering why this Lt. Casis, after 28 years of not attending any of the court proceedings on this case which led to the dismissal of the case for other co-accused, attended this hearing for the Tiamzons,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

The kidnapping case pertains to the arrest of five army soldiers who were held prisoners of war by the New People’s Army in Tiaong, Quezon in 1989. These army soldiers were later released. Lt. Casis was allegedly one of those were held as prisoner of war.

While the pre-trial hearing was ongoing, Karapatan, the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) and Kilusang Mayo Uno held a protest action in front of Camp Crame calling for the release of the Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Tiamzon, other detained NDFP consultants and all political prisoners.The Tiamzon couple and their companions have been detained for more than a year. “Numerous criminal cases have been charged against them because the BS Aquino regime detest their beliefs and the work that the Tiamzons do for just lasting peace,” Palabay said during the protest action.

At the end of the hearing, Wilma Austria Tiamzon came out of the courtroom of Camp Crame , angry and in pain for the handcuffs on her in both wrists. “I have a back problem. I can’t hold both my wrists together because it is too painful. My only request is to handcuff me in one wrist,” Austria-Tiamzon shouted.

“How could her guards be so inconsiderate to a woman with a medical condition? What security risk would they face when they just travel within the premises of the PNP Camp Crame ?” Palabay said.

The Tiamzons are still facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives in Toledo, Cebu, multiple murder being heard at the Manila Regional Trial Court and the remaining kidnapping charge.###



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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.