Tiamzon couple kept to themselves, loved their pets, neighbors say

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014


EMMIE (real name withheld) tried to enter a compound in Sitio Boloc-Boloc, Barangay Sangat, San Fernando, Cebu yesterday morning but the caretaker would not let her in.

Lupe, Jimbo, and Wendy, she said, met her at the gate. 

“I placed a plastic of pancit on the ground,” said Emmie, 69, in Cebuano. “But they would not eat. They just kept on barking.”

Flor (real name withheld), a neighbor, said they also threw bread to the dogs.

Lupe, Jimbo, and Wendy were among the dogs left behind by Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army Chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Secretary-General Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, in the house owned by a businessman.

‘Regular people’

Four cats were also seen inside the compound, which is about 700 meters from the national highway. 

“They loved their pets,” said Emmie. “They carried them in their arms and they would kiss them. Their pets’ food was usually meat.”

After she heard the news about the arrest of the Tiamzons and their five companions, Emmie said she did not step inside the residence, which a police official estimated to have a land area of 3,000 square meters. 

The house sits between two huts on a spacious lawn adorned with flowering plants and coconut trees.

Emmie said the couple have been renting the house for P20,000 a month since Jan. 8 last year. Her acquaintances Didit and Justin brokered the lease between the communist leaders and the house owner, a resident of Talisay City.

She heard the couple was from Mandaue City, but no one confirmed it.

“During the day, the couple would go hiking and jogging,” she said. “They later retreated to their rooms.”

Not allowed inside

Emmie said she never entered the house because the couple, who are Tagalog-speaking, warned her not to go inside.

She said the Tiamzons and their companions did not give her their full names.

Flor said the couple and their other companions did not talk to them. She said the house was sometime full of noisy people.

“If we greeted them, they would not reply,” she said. 

A barangay official said her relatives and neighbors smelled something funny coming from the house.

“We thought it was used as shabu factory,” she said. “We never thought it was the safe house of high-ranking rebel officials.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 26, 2014.

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