AFTER a Manila court allowed them to post bail, another judge from Toledo City, Cebu also granted the plea of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria to be released from detention while on trial to attend the formal peace negotiations with the government in Oslo, Norway on Aug. 20 to 27.
Judge Ruben Altubar of the Regional Trial Court Branch 29 in Toledo City granted the “conditional release” of the couple.
The two posted a cash bond of P100,000 each at the RTC in Manila, pending the trial of their cases in other courts.
Assisted by their lawyers Ian Vincent Manticajon and Ian Anthony Sapayan, Tiamzon and Austria, who are officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), earlier filed an urgent motion for release on bail before Judge Altubar.
The couple wanted join the peace talks as well as the consultation meetings in the Netherlands with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel.
Their lawyers argued the couple’s knowledge and experience on the plight of the majority of the Filipino people will “contribute to the forging of agreements between the government and the NDFP addressing the root cause of the armed conflict.”
Austria is a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Group that will help forge an agreement with the government on vital agenda to end hostilities and disposition of forces.
Free to leave
Tiamzon is a consultant of the NDFP panel, which will provide advice on the national situation and current issues.
In his 10-page order date Aug. 15, Judge Altubar also ordered the removal of the name of the accused in any government watch list, holddeparture order or lookout bulletin order.
Tiamzon, Austria, Joel Enano, Arlene Panea, Rex Villaflor, Nona Castillo and Jeosi Nepa were arrested in Barangay Zaragosa, Aloguinsan, Cebu in March 2014.
Enano, Panea and Villaflor are accused of violating Republic Act (RA) 9516 for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. Castillo and Nepa are charged with violating RA 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
Castillo and Nepa are out on bail, while the rest are detained at the custodial center in Camp Crame in Manila.