By RONALYN V. OLEA
(Updated 4:30 p.m.)
MANILA — National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants Wilma Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon have been released on bail this morning.
The Tiamzons were welcomed by supporters as they walked out of the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Yesterday,PNP Custodial jail warden Arnel Apud refused to release the two despite release orders from four local courts.
The Tiamzons will join 15 other NDFP consultants who have been released for formal peace talks between the government and NDFP set on August 22 to August 27 in Oslo, Norway.
Speaking in a press conference this afternoon, Aug. 19, the Tiamzons said they appreciate the efforts of Duterte administration to resume the formal peace talks.
Benito Tiamzon said they are optimistic that the peace talks would push through amid obstacles.
Benito said talks would tackle ceasefire, reaffirmation of existing agreements, reconstitution of the list of Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), schedule of succeeding talks, among others.
Asked if they would abandon the armed struggle, Benito said, “Revolution would only be passe if exploitation and oppression no longer exist.” “As long as the basic problems in society remain, armed struggle will not stop.”
Another NDFP consultant Loida Magpatoc was released on bail today.
Edre Olalia, one of the lawyers of the NDFP consultants, described the release of NDFP consultants as “victory so sweet, so sublime.”
“It was a looong, intense, & arduous journey,” Olalia said in his Facebook post.
Olalia thanked all the paralegals, Karapatan volunteers, peace advocates and fellow defense lawyers for pushing for the release of NDFP consultants.
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.
In a statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) considers the release of NDFP consultants as an act of good will by President Duterte. The release of all NDFP peace consultants is a reaffirmation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) and other NDFP-GRP agreements, the CPP said.