Jinggoy: Amnesty grant for former reds get Senate nod

Following the Senate’s concurrence with Presidential Proclamation No. 404, some 3,000 former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) are expected to avail of the amnesty granted by Malacanang, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada today said. 

Voting 23-0,  the upper chamber adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 20, giving the green light to the grant of amnesty to former CPP-NPA-NDF members who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and special penal laws in furtherance of their political beliefs. 

Citing data from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) additional applicants may be expected from over 17,000 surrenderers and over 22,000 individuals who withdrew support from the CPP-NPA-NDF, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation said. 

“As I have said in my sponsorship speech, ‘Amnesty is the best policy.’ I call on the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), the National Amnesty Commission (NAC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine National Police (PNP) who graciously lent us their valuable time and expertise during the period of interpellation, to not let the amnesty measures remain just that – a mere policy,” Estrada said. 

“Let’s all make sure that this amnesty program, together with the amnesty programs for the MILF, MNLF, and RPMP-RPA-ABB which were earlier approved by Congress, will be implemented fully and faithfully towards its objective of transforming lives and communities, encouraging former rebels and combatants to return to the folds of the law and to participate in nation-building within the framework of peaceful and deliberative society,” he added.

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

This, however, will not apply to those who have already been proscribed or those charged under the Human Security Act of 2007 and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, he stressed.

It shall likewise not cover those who committed crimes such as kidnap for ransom, massacre, rape, terrorism, crimes committed against chastity, crimes committed for personal ends, violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949, as well as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances, and other gross violations of human rights.

“Ang pagkakaloob ng amnestiya ay sasailalim sa proseso, sa pangunguna ng National Amnesty Commission at mga local amnesty boards na magsasagawa ng masusing vetting process katuwang ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan, kabilang ang Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) upang masiguro na kwalipikado sila na gawaran ng amnestiya,” Estrada said.