HOUSE opposition lawmakers are seeking to investigate “grave violations of international humanitarian law” allegedly committed by the military against two leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The House Makabayan coalition asked the House human rights committee to investigate the deaths of communist party leaders Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Tiamzon, and their eight companions.
“The government’s resort to brutality to suppress revolutionaries like the Tiamzons is not a solution to the underlying issues that give rise to armed conflict. These issues include poverty, injustice, lack of sovereignty and independence, and a lack of genuine democracy,” the solons said in House Resolution No. 939.
The 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army reported in August last year that Mr. and Ms. Tiamzon were killed in a boat explosion in Catbalogan City, Samar in central Philippines. Search and retrieval operations for the victims did not push through “allegedly due to bad weather.”
The Communist Party of the Philippines, however, said on April 20 that the Tiamzon couple were tortured and killed by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The resolution also cited the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and the Public Interest Law Center, which called for accountability over the deaths of the so-called “Catbalogan 10.”
The Human Rights Commission also committed to investigate the deaths.
“The Tiamzon couple and other companions were protected persons under international humanitarian law, which Republic Act (RA) No. 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity defines as prisoners of war or persons deprived of liberty for reasons related to an armed conflict…or persons not taking a direct part or no longer taking part in the hostilities in the power of the adverse party,” according to the resolution.
The authors of the resolution are Deputy Minority Leader France L. Castro, Assistant Minority Leader Arlene D. Brosas, and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz