• Labor group: Free Tiamzons, 8 others

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    On Thursday, when World Human Rights Day was observed, a militant group urged the government to free couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and eight others who are considered political prisoners.

    Roger Saluta, secretary-general of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), dismissed murder charges filed against the Tiamzons as fabricated.

    The murder and frustrated murder case was being heard at the Manila Trial Court Branch 32 under Judge Thelma Medina.

    Thursday was for marking of evidence and the process will continue in February next year.
    The Tiamzons are among the top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Party (CPP-NPA-NDF).

    Benito is allegedly its chairman.

    Aside from the Tiamzon couple, three of the other detainees are labor rights defenders, namely Adelberto Silva, Renante Gamara and Ernesto Lorenzo.

    Silva was President of the pre-martial law group Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Mangagagawang Pilipino; Gamara was a labor leader of General Motors Philippines in the 1970s; and Sharon Cabusao, wife of Silva, was a staff member of KMU public information office.

    Saluta said they were arrested without any basis and were imprisoned so they would be prevented from organizing activities of the workers.

    Four of the ten were arrested allegedly for having staged an ambush three years ago in Ifugao province.

    The four are Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano of the Confederation for Unity Recognition and Employment of Government Employees (Courage), Gil Corpuz of Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) in Cagayan Valley and Rene Abiva of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in Cagayan Valley.

    The Tiamzons, who have been in jail since March last year, are facing several charges.

    The illegal possession of firearms and explosives case against them was dismissed by a Quezon City court last year.
    JAIME R. PILAPIL

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