Court frees 4 Reds ahead of peace gab
Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina, of the Manila RTC Branch 32, granted the motion for the release of the communist leaders on bail, and allowed them to travel with Satur Ocampo and Randal Echaniz to Oslo for the talks, lawyer Edre Olalia said. The Tiamzons, Ocampo and their co-accused face multiple murder charges for the killing of 15 civilians discovered in a mass grave in 2006 in Inopacan, Leyte. The military says the bodies belong to communist rebels who were killed in a purge because they were believed to be government spies. The military arrested the Tiamzons, along with five others, in 2014 based on a warrant issued by the regional trial court in Leyte. The Tiamzons, however, cannot be released yet because the courts handling their other cases have yet to approve their motion for bail. The two also face charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216, murder and frustrated murder in Laoang, Northern Samar and illegal possession of explosives in Toledo City, Cebu. “We’re still waiting for feedback from these courts,” Olalia said. The National Democratic Front considers the Tiamzons and Silva consultants in the peace talks that will resume on Aug. 22. The court set different bail amounts—P100,000 to P150,000—for each of the detainees. The court granted the request for bail after prosecutors for the Justice Department did not oppose their motion. Baylosis is among the 22 consultants identified by the NDF, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, who have key roles in the peace talks. “He [Baylosis] surfaced because he was encouraged by the coming resumption of the peace negotiations and he wanted to perform his role fully as a consultant. He failed to attend his arraignment on July 30, 2015 due to intense surveillance and reports of threats to him and his family,” Olalia said.