MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - A Manila court has ordered the rearrest of communist leaders Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma after the breakdown of peace talks between the government and the armed left.
In a January 11 decision, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 Presiding Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina granted the Department of Justice's motion for the recommitment of the Tiamzon couple and co-accused Adelberto Silva and the cancellation of their P100,000 bail.
The Tiamzons are facing murder charges over the killing of 15 civilians in Leyte province. They were granted bail in 2016 to allow them to participate in peace negotiations between the government and the communist movement.
"Inarguably, the sole reason for their grant was to enable said accused to participate in the peace process,” the court order reads.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will follow the court ruling, its spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said in a press briefing Wednesday.
"We will comply with the order of the court," he told reporters.
In a message to reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque echoed Carlos' statement.
"Police must hunt them down. That's what's expected of them," he said.
National Democratic Front of the Philippines legal consultant Edre Olalia, meanwhile, said a motion for reconsideration remains a legal option for the Tiamzon couple.
"A motion for reconsideration, even if seemingly a long shot under the present circumstances, remains a legal option," he said in a statement.
"We maintain that the peace negotiations have not yet been terminated properly and in accordance with the solemn and binding protocol mutually agreed upon by the parties," he added.
Benito Tiamzon is identified as the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples' Army while his wife is the group's secretary-general.
The government sought their rearrest after the collapse of peace negotiations late last year.
-with a report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News