AFP gloats: NPA has nothing to celebrate
MANILA - "Sa anniversary nila? They've got nothing to celebrate. With the capture of their 2 top leaders, ang hindi nila inaasahang mangyari ay nangyari."
Those were the words of Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Armed Forces Public Affairs Office chief, when asked what he thinks will happen on the 45th Anniversary of the New People's Army on March 29.
Zagala said in a press conference that it was false for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to say that the capture of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon has no impact on the organization.
"Ang pagkakahuli (sa kanila) ay siguradong may impact," said Zagala.
"Napakataas nila, they are the Number 1 and 2. Sila ang nagbibigay ng order sa CPP-NPA."
The AFP said that the Tiamzons are not just leaders of the political wing, but decision-makers for the armed wing itself, the New People's Army (NPA).
The AFP said there is a 5-million peso reward for each of the Tiamzons, but declined to say who and how many informants would receive this amount.
The Tiamzons were arrested while on board their vehicle.
The AFP spokesman said the couple lived in a compound in San Fernando, Cebu, with a Starex and an Innova.
"They are living a normal life, with extraordinary positions. Sila ang nagbibigay ng utos sa mga kasama nilang nasa bundok, pero nakatira sila sa area na walang labanan," Zagala said.
"They are enjoying a normal life, maybe of privilege."
ON ALLEGATIONS OF PLANTED EVIDENCE
Zagala challenged the Tiamzons' supporters to take them to court with their allegations of planted evidence.
"Walang katotohanan yung planted evidence. Nung naaresto sila sa sasakyan, documented ito, and all in their presence. Hindi pa nga sila pinababa agad ng sasakyan eh. We have pictures and video but we can't show these kasi nasa korte na," he said.
He added: "Yung mga supporters nila, ito na ang pagkakataon niyo, pero idaan niyo sa korte."
He also said the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) is not in effect because the CPP-NPA and its political arm, the National Democratic Front, left the negotiating table.
"Ngayong nahuli sila, biglang gusto na nilang gamitin? Dapat ang pairalin na ngayon ay ang mga batas," he said.
Zagala said it is now time for the CPP-NPA to return to the negotiating table.
"Ngayon na ang hardliner na ayaw sa peace process ay nahuli, baka magandang pagkakataon ito para imbitahan ang CPP-NPA na makipag-usap na ulit," he said.