The Manila Regional Trial Court has cancelled the bail bonds of three leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front, paving the way for their rearrest.
Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina of Branch 32 of RTC Manila, in an order on January 11 but released Wednesday, issued the warrants of arrest against couple Benito Tiamzon, CPP chairman, and Wilma Tiamzon, CPP secretary general, and Adelberto Silva.
"Accordingly, the respective cash bonds in the amount of P100,000.00 posted by the accused Adelberto Silva, Benito Tiamzon, and Wilma Tiamzon are hereby cancelled. Let warrants of arrest be issued against them," Bunyi-Medina said in the order.
The government peace panel, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed the motion before the lower court for the recommitment and cancellation of bail of the three leftist leaders after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360 last November formally terminating the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front due to the atrocities that the rebels continue to commit.
"In view of the cancellation of the peace talks, there is no more legal ground for the continuous provisional liberty of the accused; thus, the immediate recommitment and cancellation of bail of all the accused should logically follow," the prosecution said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a text message, said that if the three rebel leaders fail to surrender, they would be hunted down.
"Police must hunt them down. That's what's expected of them," he said.
Edre Olalia, legal consultant of the NDF negotiating panel and co-counsel for the Tiamzons, insisted formal peace talks have not been terminated properly in accordance with the protocol agreed by the parties.
"A unilateral declaration by one side without the proper written notice duly receipted by the other, no matter how categorical yet at the same unjustified, does not make the grade and does not bind the latter," he said in a statement.
"Parenthetically, it is quite curious that the judge in the GRP (government of the Republic of the Philippines) court Order for the recommitment and cancellation of bail of our clients supposedly due to the cancellation of peace talks used the following disposition: "Having judiciously evaluated the contentions of the parties, THEY find that the recommitment and cancellation of the respective bail bonds... are warranted." May we ask, who is really issuing the Order here?," he said
Olalia indicated that they might file a motion for reconsideration.
"A motion for reconsideration, even if seemingly a long shot under the present circumstances, remains a legal option," Olalia added.
The Tiamzon couple were freed from detention in August 2016 to participate in the peace talks with the government as consultants of the National Democratic Front.
The court is hearing multiple murder charges against the Tiamzons and Silva in connection with the alleged killing of civilians whose bodies were found in a mass grave by Army troops in Inopacan, Leyte in 1986.
The Tiamzons were apprehended by a joint military-police team in Aloguinsan, Cebu last March 2014. Silva was arrested in 2015 in Bacoor, Cavite by the Philippine Army, claiming he was the replacement of Wilma Tiamzon after she and her husband were arrested. Celerina Monte/DMS