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Philippine Communist Party chairman, wife arrested

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine military says security forces have arrested the underground Communist Party leader and his wife, dealing the biggest blow to the decades-old rebel group in recent years.

Military chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said Communist Party of the Philippines Chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma, who is also a senior party officer, were arrested Saturday in central Cebu province.

The arrest comes a week before the party’s armed wing, the New People’s Army, marks its 45th anniversary.

Bautista says the couple faces charges of crimes against humanity, including multiple murders.

Bautista is calling on the rebels to abandon their armed struggle.

Talks to end one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies have stalled since 2011 due to disagreements between the government and guerrillas over releasing several jailed rebel leaders.

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