Bello confident CPP leaders will be released for talks
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration will ask government prosecutors to file petitions before lower courts for the speedy release of detained communist leaders in time for the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway, this month.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, member of the government panel negotiating peace with the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF), said the recent Supreme Court decision denying the release of top rebels was based on “grounds of jurisdiction and technicality.”
As such, he said in a statement Friday, August 5, the government is confident that the NDF consultants will eventually be allowed to attend the talks in Oslo, which are scheduled on August 20-27.
Bello noted that the SC “underscored the immediacy of the issue at hand and urged the Regional Trial Courts, which have jurisdictions over their cases, to act with dispatch petitions that would come their way with regards to the detained NDF consultants so as the peace process could be expedited.”
On July 22, the Office of the Solicitor General filed before the SC a petition for intervention to grant bail for the temporary liberty of communist rebels who were named consultants by the NDF.
The SC however said denied the petition, saying it had no jurisdiction over the 11 consultants. They are alleged Communist Party of the Philippines chairman Benito Tiamzon, wife Wilma Tiamzon, as well as Rafael Baylosis, Tirso Alcantara, Alex Birondo, Winona Birondo, Maria Concepcion Bocala, Reynante Gamara, Allan Jazmines, Ma. Loida Magpatoc, and Adelberto Silva.
The Tiamzon couple are detained at Camp Crame.
"We will cooperate and collaborate with the defense counsels of the detained NDF consultants and will not oppose petitions for bail or their temporary release for them to join the peace negotiations,” Bello said.
“We should understand that these detained leaders have been charged with common crimes and we have legal proceedings to observe before they can be released,” Bello explained.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the prospective release of top communist leaders "will be a costly blunder later on."
In a statement, he said: "The Duterte administration hasn't learned from history at all. If we could recall, Joma Sison himself was granted provisional liberty by President Cory thinking that the communists were really sincere in pursuing peace after the fall of the Marcos regime. It turned out to be just their ploy to restrengthen their ranks." – Rappler.com