A MANILA court has allowed communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon to join peace talks with the government in Oslo, Norway later this month.
Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza welcomed the development in a statement Friday, pointing to the couple’s “strategic leadership role” in the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“We welcome the court’s ruling to enable the Tiamzons to participate in the peace negotiations. The couple occupies a strategic leadership role in the talks as high-ranking leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and their participation ensures an inclusive outcome, hopefully to end conflict and bring about comprehensive and sustainable peace throughout the land, as envisioned by President Duterte and his administration,” Dureza said.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 granted the motion for release on bail of the Tiamzon couple.
The two are facing multiple murder charges for the brutal killing of 15 civilians found in a mass grave in 2006 in Inopacan, Leyte.
The military arrested the Tiamzons in 2014 based on a warrant issued by the regional trial court in Leyte.
Benito was identified as chairman of the CPP and head of its armed wing the New People’s Army, while his wife Wilma was identified as CPP secretary general.
The National Democratic Front, the CPP’s political arm, has named the Tiamzons “peace consultants.”
The peace negotiations will be held in Oslo on August 20 to 27.