DOJ recommends indictment of Tiamzons

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2014 02:09 PM | Updated as of Mar 28 2014 12:46 AM

For illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) found probable cause to charge top Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and 5 others with violations of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act (Republic Act 10591), and the Illegal Possession of Explosives Law (Republic Act 9516).

These are the findings of the DOJ in a 9-page inquest resolution dated March 24.

In its complaint against the couple and their companions, the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed that seized from the Tiamzons and their companions during their arrest last March 22 in Aloguinsan Town, Cebu, were (1) .45 caliber Colt pistol; (1) 9-mm caliber Norinco pistol; (1) 9-mm caliber Kimber; (2) hand grenades; and (1) .357 caliber revolver.

"Credence can be given weight to the statements of the arresting officers who personally witnessed the search as well as possession of the respondents of said illegal firearms, ammunitions and explosives by respondents and their failure to explain their right to possess is clearly a violation of RA No. 10591 and RA No. 9516.

"[U]nder Sec 1 of RA 9516, mere possession of any explosive or incendiary device shall be prima facie evidence that the person had knowledge of the existence and the explosive or incendiary character of the device," the resolution read.

The DOJ was also convinced of other evidence presented by the PNP, foremost of which is a memorandum from the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) dated March 24, that showed that Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Tiamzon, Joel Enano, Arlene Panea, Rex Villaflor, Nona Castillo, and Jeosi Nepa are "not licensed firearm holders of any kind of caliber."

Enano, Panea, Villaflor, Castillo, and Nepa will also be charged for harboring a fugitive from justice. The DOJ pointed out that the Tiamzons are subject of a warrant of arrest for the crime of multiple murder issued by the Hilongos, Leyte Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 13, the same warrant served to them in Aloguinsan.

The DOJ ordered its prosecutors to file the criminal charges before the courts in the the Province of Cebu.

The PNP Custodial Center has been ordered to continue to take physical custody of the Tiamzons and their co-respondents while there is no order yet from the Cebu courts on where they shall be detained.

The resolution was signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Niven Canlapan and Prosecution Attorney Cesar Angelo Chavez, and approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.

Benito and Wilma Tiamzon are the no. 1 and no. 2 in the CPP-NPA top brass, according to the military.