MANILA – Human rights group Karapatan called on the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surface the companion of the arrested Tiamzon couple, who, the military claims are top ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Gary Aguilar Santos, according to Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, has been missing for 22 days as of this writing.
In its statement sent to the media, Karapatan said Santos is a “stay-in gardener at the house where the Tiamzons and companions stayed before their March 22 arrest.”
Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, along with Rex and Lorraine Villaflor, Joesi Napa, Joel Enano and Arlene Panea, were arrested on Mar. 22, 2014.
Charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention were filed against the Tiamzon couple.
They are also implicated in the Hilongos multiple murder case in relation to the alleged mass grave found in Inopacan, Leyte.
During their arraignment at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, Tiamzon said, “we are revolutionaries, not criminals.” Rex and Lorraine Villaflor, who were arrested along with the Tiamzon couple, “alerted Karapatan when there was no news of Santos’ whereabouts after the much-publicized raid by the Philippine National Police at the rented house of the Tiamzons on March 22.”
Lorraine Villaflor last talked with Santos on Mar. 22, 2014, a few hours after their arrest. Palabay said Karapatan–Central Visayas attempted to find Santos.
On Mar. 26, 2014, members of Karapatan-Central Visayas went to the PNP-San Fernando to ask for the result of the search operation conducted at the house where the Tiamzon couple and their companions were arrested. The team also went to the house at Sitio Boloc-boloc but was told by one of the caretakers that no was seen inside the house since the March 22 arrest. Karapatan-Cebu, on April 1, went to the PNP-San Fernando to ask if they have custody of Santos but the police said he is not with them.
“Tiamzon, Austria and the Villaflor couple are deeply concerned with Gary’s fate. Santos might be tortured for tactical interrogation, which the AFP and PNP are notorious for,” Palabay said, “We demand from the government authorities to surface Santos.”