Jinggoy: Senate seals amnesty grant to rebel and insurgent groups

THE Senate today adopted three concurrent resolutions favoring President Marcos Jr.’s grant of amnesty to various rebel and insurgent groups in the country, less than three months after the signing of the presidential proclamations.

“The congressional concurrence to the presidential proclamations signifies the Filipino people’s support to the comprehensive peace efforts and genuine commitment of the government to attaining lasting peace,” Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said.

These measures, he added, will foster healing and social cohesion, and will provide the window to end internal armed conflict and rebellion, which have already cost the country a staggering amount of lost economic opportunities and the lives of countless Filipinos.

At least 2,000 former members of the separatist group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), 1,200 from the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB), and 400 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) surrenderees are expected to avail of the amnesty.

Adopted during Monday’s plenary session were House Concurrent Resolutions No. 19, 21, and 22 concurring with Presidential Proclamations 403, 405, and 406 – the amnesty given to rebels from the RPMP-RPA-ABB, MILF, and MNLF respectively.

Estrada expressed gratitude to the Senate leadership for prioritizing these important measures amid the very hectic legislative agenda.

The amnesty is granted to rebels who have committed crimes in pursuit of their political beliefs. These crimes include, but are not limited to, rebellion or insurrection, sedition, illegal assembly, direct and indirect assault, resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, and illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, or explosives.

It is important to note that these crimes or offenses must have been committed in furtherance of, incident to, or in connection with the crimes of rebellion or insurrection, among others, the senator said.

As provided under Section 4 of each presidential proclamation, the amnesty shall extinguish any criminal liability of former rebels for acts committed in pursuit of their political beliefs and shall also restore civil and political rights suspended or lost by criminal conviction.

However, there are exceptions. Amnesty shall not be granted to those who have already been proscribed or charged under the Human Security Act of 2007 and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. Additionally, it shall not cover crimes such as kidnap for ransom, massacre, rape, terrorism, crimes against chastity, crimes committed for personal ends, violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances, and other gross violations of human rights.

Following the congressional concurrence to the said presidential proclamations, Estrada said his Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation and the OPAPRU will facilitate a briefing on the status of peace agreements.