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Monday, June 17, 2024

Amnesty orders still need Congress approval – official

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Congress still has to approve the amnesty proclamations of President Marcos, National Amnesty Commission commissioner Jamar Kulayan said in a radio interview yesterday.

Kulayan noted that during the Duterte administration, Congress only approved three of the four proclamations, with the Senate rejecting the amnesty for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

Under Proclamations 403 to 406, President Marcos granted amnesty to the members of the following insurgent groups: Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas / Revolutionary Proletarian Army / Alex Boncayao Brigade; CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front; Moro Islamic Liberation Front; and the Moro National Liberation Front.

Kulayan said some 100,000 former rebels may benefit from the proclamations, including 40,000 from the MILF.

The National Amnesty Commission will scrutinize potential beneficiaries before they can actually avail of the amnesty.

Beneficiaries have two years to apply under the latest proclamations.

Kulayan, however, clarified that crimes committed outside the pursuit of political beliefs would not be covered by the amnesty, which extinguishes criminal liability.

MNLF Deputy Speaker Abdulkarim Tan Misuari said the amnesty proclamation serves as a vehicle for peace and reconciliation.

“President Marcos has displayed his genuine desire to heal the wounds of the past and foster brotherhood,” Misuari said.

“By choosing amnesty, the President showcases his sincerity and foresight, recognizing that dialogue and negotiation are keys to resolving conflicts with those who once stood against the government,” he added.

The Bangsamoro government earlier expressed its “genuine gratitude” for the amnesty proclamation.

“This development is a significant milestone in the achievement of meaningful and enduring peace in the Bangsamoro, as this will form part of former combatants’ full transformation towards being productive and peace-loving Filipino citizens,” said Naguib Sinarimbo, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Government Minister.

“We call on our MILF and MNLF brothers and sisters to take this opportunity to gradually prepare for availment of amnesty,” he added.

Agusan del Norte Rep. Dale Corvera said the move “shows the sincerity of the government in wanting peace and in helping former rebels rebuild their lives in an atmosphere of healing and reconciliation and proceed to address other problems of the country that hinders growth.”

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