Tiamzon, Austria fled detention before

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


WHAT makes the Tiamzon couple the “big fish” in the insurgent movement?

Benito Tiamzon, 63, is the current chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

He calls the shots for almost all major party activities while CPP chairman emeritus Jose Ma. Sison is abroad, according to a fact sheet released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ public information office.

Benito previously served as secretary of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC).

Last Saturday was not the first time he was arrested.

He was charged before for his alleged involvement in the 1985 massacre of 15 people whose remains were discovered in a mass grave in 2006 in Inopacan, Leyte, the military said.

Benito was born on March 20, 1951, and a native of Marikina City.

He graduated Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Arts in History from University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.

Benito began as a student activist and went on to organize labor unions in the 1970’s.
He met his wife Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, now 61, in the underground movement and they bore a daughter.

Wilma, born on Dec. 21, 1952 and native of Pasig City, now serves as the secretary general of (CPP). She also served as the finance officer of the CPP.

Like Benito, she also held previous CPP positions.

She became a finance officer and secretary of the National Peasant Commission of the CPP. She was also a member of the Regional Trade Union Bureau and Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK).

Wilma has also been arrested before in connection to the massacre of civilians in Leyte.

Apart from this, she was apprehended last Oct. 4, 1989, but escaped from the detention center in Camp Crame barely three months later.

The military said the CPP spent P2.5 million for her escape, which is believed to have been solicited from the Netherlands. This reportedly aggravated the power struggle within the CPP hierarchy.

Like Benito, Wilma also graduated from UP Diliman.

According to the data obtained by Sunnex from the public information office of Armed Forces of the Philipines, the Tiamzons are among the leaders of the Maoist rebellion that has claimed 30,000 lives based on government estimates.

The NPA is now down to about 4,000 guerrillas from more than 26,000 in the late 1980s.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 24, 2014.

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