DILG orders manhunt for Tiamzon couple

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 30) - Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered the Philippine National Police to intensify its manhunt operations for convicted communist leaders, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, after intelligence reports showed they are still in the country.

"I have instructed the PNP to intensify the manhunt for these communist terrorists so they can serve the sentence imposed by the court," said Año in a statement on Monday.

The Tiamzons were sentenced by a Quezon City court to up to 40 years imprisonment last Friday for the kidnapping of four Army lieutenants back in 1988.

Año said the conviction is a "landmark victory," noting that some 40,000 police, soldiers, and civilians have died as a result of communist insurgency.

"They cannot run and hide forever. Sooner or later, matitimbog din sila ulit at haharapin ang mga kasalanan nila sa ating bayan (They will be caught again soon and face the consequences of their misdoings to the country). I am confident that we will see them behind bars soon," he said.

Benito and Wilma were granted bail in 2016 to attend the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway as consultants of the National Democratic Front. However, the two have failed to appear in the court since then, even after the peace negotiations were terminated and their bails were already canceled.

The Quezon City court also ordered the couple to pay the complainant ₱225,000 for moral and civil indemnity, as well as exemplary damages with an interest rate of 6% per year until the amount is fully paid.