Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City—Considered as a significant blow to the communist insurgency in the country, joint elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police arrested on Saturday, March 22, top-ranking leaders of the New People’s Army Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

The couple was wanted for 15 counts of murder due to their involvement in the brutal killing of 15 civilians discovered in a mass grave in 2006 in Inopacan, Leyte.

 

Benito Tiamzon, who began as a student activist in the University of the Philippines-Diliman, is currently the center of gravity of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF). He is the Chairman of the CPP-NPA in place of Jose Maria Sison who is in exile in Utrecht, Norway. His wife, Wilma, is currently the Secretary General of the CPP-NPA.

They were arrested along with five personalities on board a Hyundai Starex Van and a Toyota Innova. Recovered from the two were 13 firearms including ammunitions, and two hand grenades.

The arrest will have a significant effect on the communist insurgency in the country, as Benito Tiamzon is the one calling the shots and providing direction to the CPP and the NPA.

It was also reported that there is a rift between Sison and Tiamzon, particularly on issues pertaining the peace talks and strategic and tactical operations of the NPA.

The AFP and the PNP ensured that the two were given due process in their arrest. Their processing in Camp Lapu-lapu in Cebu and transfer to Camp Crame in Quezon City were well documented.

The arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon is another victory for the combined efforts of AFP and PNP in pursuit of peace and security. We will then continue to strengthen our resolve to bring other criminals to justice in honor of the victims of the violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA.

The AFP joins the Filipino people in calling for a responsible end to the armed struggle that has gone on for decades and claimed over 30,000 lives. It is time for the rest of the CPP-NPA to abandon the armed struggle and take part in bringing peace and development to the country.