MANILA - A leftist group is urging the Armed Forces of the Philippines to "stop taunting" the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) following the capture of the rebels' two top leaders.
In a statement, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) criticized AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala for saying that the communist rebels have "nothing to celebrate" after the capture of CPP-NPA chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma Tiamzon.
"What is the purpose of the taunting? Is it to further undermine any prospects for peace? Is it an attempt to get the other side to retaliate? It’s quite pathetic and exposes as a sham the Aquino government’s claims that it gives primacy to peace negotiations," Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr. said.
The Bayan leader again accused the military of planting evidence such as firearms to enable the filing of non-bailable charges against the Tiamzons.
He also scored the Palace's peace advisers for ignoring the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
"Ging Deles and Alex Padilla should read the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees because their statements are becoming more absurd by the day. Padilla is wrong when he says JASIG does not apply to the Tiamzons because he has not seen them in any peace negotiations. He forgets that each party in the talks has the inherent right to issue documents of identification to its negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel. Whether or not Padilla has seen them face to face is irrelevant to their status as JASIG-protected persons," Reyes said.
Zagala earlier said the arrest of the Tiamzons will dampen any celebration of the NPA's 45th anniversary on March 29.
He nixed claims of the rebel group that the capture of the Tiamzons has no impact on the organization.
"Ang pagkakahuli (sa kanila) ay siguradong may impact," said Zagala.
"Napakataas nila, they are the Number 1 and 2. Sila ang nagbibigay ng order sa CPP-NPA."
The AFP said that the Tiamzons are not just leaders of the political wing, but decision-makers for the NPA.