PNP to arrest, hunt down Tiamzon couple: Palace

MANILA -- MalacaAang on Wednesday said the Philippine National Police (PNP) has the duty to serve the warrant of arrest on three rebel leaders, including the Tiamzon couple, after a local court granted the Department of Justice's (DOJ) motion for the cancellation of their bail following the collapse of peace talks between the government and communist rebels.

In a January 11 decision, Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 granted the motion of the DOJ and issued a warrant of arrest for communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and Adelberto Silva.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the police will have to serve warrant of arrest on them and were duty-bound to conduct manhunt operations against the three communist leaders if they go in hiding or refuse to surrender.

Police must hunt them down. That's what is expected of them, Roque said.

The Tiamzons are facing murder charges over the killing of 15 civilians found in a mass grave in Leyte.

Benito Tiamzon is identified as the chairman of Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples' Army (CPP-NPA) while his wife Wilma is the secretary-general of the group.

They were granted bail in 2016 to allow them to participate in formal peace talks as consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

On Nov. 23, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 360 declaring the termination of peace talks with the communist rebels due to the NPA's continued violent attacks on government forces and civilians.

The President also labeled the CPP-NPA as terror organization.

In the RTC order, the court stated that the recommitment and cancellation of the respective bail bonds of the rebel leaders are warranted under the facts at hand."

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

Source: Philippine News Agency