Local communists still looking for new leaders

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THE Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed group, the New People’s Army (NPA), are said to be still looking for new leaders who will take the place of Benito Tiamzon and wife Wilma.

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The Tiamzons’ arrest by police and military operatives in March last year in Cebu City, according to security officials, was a big blow to the communist movement in the country.

The two are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City, along with other high-profile detainees, including two senators facing plunder charges in connection with the multi-billion pork barrel scam masterminded allegedly by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

At the time of their arrest, Benito was the acclaimed leader of the NPA while his wife was the secretary general of the communist armed group, which has been waging more than four decades of protracted war against the government.

A source from the police intelligence community who uses the code name Pokemon told The Manila Times on Tuesday that the NPA is still searching for possible replacements for the Tiamzon couple.

“They [NPA] are still looking and searching for possible replacements for the Tiamzons and up to now they cannot find suitable replacements for the two,” the source said.

The Times source added that at the time that security forces arrested the couple, Wilma was allegedly the safekeeper or caretaker of 76 bank accounts belonging to the communist rebel movement.

“Wilma is the holder of these accounts in which, according to our assets in the group, funds coming from foreign donors are deposited monthly by their ‘foreign donors,’” the source said.

The source added that based on information that was relayed to them by their assets in the underground movement, the accounts under the care of the Tiamzons are receiving monthly donations of as high as $5,000 a month.

“The accounts are still alive and are still receiving each month $5,000 from their foreign donors… you can just imagine how many millions of pesos the group is receiving each month,” the source said.

The source, however, did not say from what countries or organizations the donations were coming.

The CPP-NPA is set to celebrate its 46th founding anniversary on March 29.

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