A SPECIAL military operation reportedly killed ranking Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army officials Benito and Wilma Tiamzon in Samar although there was still no official confirmation of the report as of 4 p.m. Monday.
Late Monday morning, there were unconfirmed reports that the couple was killed in an aerial bombing in Catbalogan City, Samar although no official was ready to confirm the report.
However, Journal Group sources said that the Armed Forces Eastern Visayas Command will release details of the operation.
A ranking intelligence official also said that to ensure that the real Tiamzons were the ones who were killed in the supposed aerial bombing, samples of their DNA are needed to establish their identities thru cross-matching with their relatives’ DNA.
In November 2020, the AFP said the conviction of the couple on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention is a victory for many victims of atrocities of the NPA particularly the orders to conduct murder, arson, extortion, ambushes, bombing, and other activities they orchestrated.
Both were sentenced to up to 40-years in prison as security officials urged the two to surrender.
The two were convicted beyond reasonable doubt by Judge Alfonzo Cruz II of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216. Both are also facing multiple murder charges over the so-called ‘Inopacan Massacre’ in Leyte province where self-exiled CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is one of their co-accused.
The two are also facing a separate case for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. “They have violated the provisions of their temporary liberty (as consultants) when they refused to surrender after the peace negotiations failed. But the AFP will continue to hunt them down,” then AFP spokesperson, Major General Edgard Arevalo said.
The official also said that the military continues to strengthen its resolve to bring other criminals to justice in honor of the victims of the violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA.
The Philippine National Police leadership said then that the conviction of the couple is a ‘triumph of justice’ and another ‘success story of our prosecutors and investigators who secured the validity of evidence presented during the trial.”
The two were captured by AFP intelligence agents in March 2014 in Barangay Zaragoza, Cebu City. In 2020 then Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año said he started tracking down the couple when he was just an Army captain.
Año rose to become an AFP chief of staff.
The two were found guilty of kidnapping and illegal detention of military personnel who were on furlough in 1988. They were also ordered to pay the complainant, Army Lieutenant Abraham Claro Casis, a total of P225,000 in civil indemnity and damages.
The two were granted bail on August 15, 2016 to join the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the CPP/NPA.