The Senate adopted three measures granting amnesty to members of three rebel groups that have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and special penal laws in pursuit of their political beliefs.
Sponsored by Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, House Concurrent Resolution Nos. 12, 13 and 14 were adopted with 18 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention.
The resolutions concurred with Presidential Proclamation Nos. 1090, 1091 and 1092 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 5, 2021, which grant amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB), respectively.
With the amnesty grants, Lacson said, the government is giving out second chances to over 7,600 prospective applicants who are willing to have a new start in life in a secure place in society.
“Never in our history has our nation sought and demanded a ‘time of healing’ with much fervor and tenacity than we do today.”
“Never in our history has our nation sought and demanded a ‘time of healing’ with much fervor and tenacity than we do today — healing from the health crisis which scarred our people; healing from the economic, social, and political distress that, by and large, spoiled our nation,” the veteran legislator said in his omnibus sponsorship speech on Committee Reports 372, 373 and 374 recommending the adoption of the resolutions.
The amnesty however shall not be granted to those who have already been proscribed or those charged under Republic Act (RA) No. 9372, otherwise known as the Human Security Act of 2007, or RA No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
Under the presidential proclamations, the amnesty shall not cover kidnap for ransom, massacre, rape, terrorism and other crimes committed against chastity as defined in the Revised Penal Code as amended, crimes committed for personal ends, violation of RA No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002, grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949, and those identified by the United Nations as crimes that can never, be amnestied such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances and other gross violations of human rights.
The measures also call for the creation of an Amnesty Commission that shall receive and process applications for amnesty and determine whether the applicants who shall apply are entitled to amnesty under the presidential proclamations.
“Amnesty is an act of compassion on the part of the government.”
“Indeed, amnesty is an act of compassion on the part of the government. It is a chance to mend our wounds from our constant struggle,” the seasoned lawmaker said.
“More importantly, this is our time to heal. If viewed the same by all parties concerned, then our concurrence may be another step closer towards reconciliation, and ultimately the attainment of lasting peace,” the senator concluded.