We publish an statement of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Tiamzons, Catbalogan 10 were held captive, tortured and cowardly killed by the AFP in US-directed operations

Marco Valbuena | Chief Information Officer | Communist Party of the Philippines

April 20, 2023

The entire leadership and membership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the brutal torture and cowardly killing of Party leaders Benito Tiamzon (Ka Laan) and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon (Ka Bagong-tao), together with eight other revolutionaries after they were captured in Samar province on August 21, 2022.

At the time of their murder, Ka Benito, 71, was the Chairman of the CPP Executive Committee, while Ka Wilma, 70, was the CPP’s Secretary General. They were travelling with Ka Divino (Joel Arceo), a subregional secretary in Eastern Visayas, along with Ka Yen, Ka Jaja, Ka Matt, Ka Ash, Ka Delfin, Ka Lupe, Ka Butig (Catbalogan 10), who all belonged to the guerrilla force of the central headquarters.

In a report, the Political Bureau said the Tiamzons were travelling on two separate vans along the national highway eastwards towards Catbalogan City. They were flagged down between 12:00 noon and 1:00 in the afternoon, after which all communications with the group were lost. They were unarmed.

It explained that it took several weeks to establish the veracity of the reports which the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) released around that time. It also had to conduct months of investigation to piece together the details of the capture and subsequent massacre of the Tiamzons.

According to the information gathered by the Central Committee, the Tiamzons suffered severe beating in the hands of their captors. Internal reports cited witnesses who saw how the faces and bodies of the victims were smashed, apparently beaten with hard objects.

The CPP PolitBureau disputed the report of the AFP suggesting that the Tiamzons were killed after their supposed boat exploded while engaging in a firefight with forces of the Joint Task Force Storm, the 8th Infantry Division and the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trident—a unit trained and commanded by the US military—during the early morning hours of August 22, 2022 off the coast of Catbalogan.

The claimed mid-sea firefight and explosion were all a drama hatched by the AFP and its US military advisers, to hide all evidence of the ignominy of their fascist crime. In truth, the already lifeless bodies of the Tiamzons and their group were dumped on a motorboat filled with explosives, and tugged from Catbalogan midway towards Taranganan island before it was detonated. Only eight bodies were subsequently retrieved by the military.

The murder of the Tiamzons follow the pattern of the wilful killings perpetrated by the AFP against captured revolutionaries. The same cruel and cowardly methods were used in the killing of Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris), Menardo Villanueva (Ka Bok), Antonio Cabantan (Ka Manlimbasog), Julius Giron (Ka Nars) and a number of others.

The Party demands justice for the August 21 massacre of the Tiamzons et al. Their capture, torture and killing were directed by the top officers of the AFP. The CPP holds the following directly responsible for the dastardly crime:

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, commander-in-chief of the AFP, Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bacarro, then chief-of-staff of the AFP, Lt. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, then head of the JTF-Storm and the 8th Infantry Division, and Brig. Gen. Marceliano Teofilo, head of the Intelligence Service ng AFP, as well as the US military advisers behind the Task Force Trident.

The CPP demands justice for the Tiamzons and the Catbalogan 10, and calls for their indictment in all relevant courts.