Benito and Wilma Tiamzon along with other peace consultants of communist rebels have no chance of winning against false charges against them under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, their lawyer said on Friday (Nov. 27).
“The vilification of the Tiamzons, led by the president himself, has constricted their space for remedy or relief at this time,” said lawyer Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC).
“Given the present factual milieu, the Tiamzons, along with other peace consultants facing false charges in court, cannot avail of fair trial,” she lamented.
The lawyer pointed this out following the conviction of the Tiamzons on Friday for kidnapping and serious illegal detention for holding captive four soldiers in Mauban, Quezon.
“This case, which has more than 100 accused, has been dismissed against many others. Unfortunately, the self-serving and biased statements of the lone prosecution witness were used as basis for a finding of guilt for two accused,” the lawyer said.
Pastores lamented the couple, like other peace consultants, were “charged with trumped up cases but could not effectively defend themselves in court because they and their witnesses are constantly subjected to threats to their lives, harassment, and surveillance.”
“They could have easily presented evidence in their defense and dispute the clear lies of the lone prosecution witness, a high ranking member of the military,” she pointed out.