Amnesty for Philippine Army Rebels

The House of Representatives is set to concur this week Proclamation no. 75 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III, which grants amnesty to soldiers and enlisted personnel involved in three uprisings in the past.

Among the uprisings against the previous administration were the July 27, 2003 Oakwood Mutiny; the February 2006 Marines Stand-Off; and the Nov. 29, 2007 Manila Peninsula Siege.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., co-author of House Concurrent Resolution no. 8 together with House Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III, and House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II, on Monday said that “the amnesty proclamation will be concurred as early as today if not I think not later than Wednesday this week.”

He, however, clarified that approval of Congress in the amnesty proclamation does not automatically mean the rebel soldiers would be immediately set free.

“Sa terms ng amnesty ay binibigyan ang mga tao ng certain period na magpunta doon at mag-apply [Under the amnesty terms, the people (rebel soldiers) are given a certain period to present themselves and apply]. In other words, it is not automatic na kapag pinirmahan na ng Kongreso eh sa susunod na araw ay lalabas ka na lang (ng kulungan)[it is not automatic that once Congress approves the proclamation, the rebel soldiers are freed the next day]. Kailangan meron ka ding gawin [You also have to do something] — that is to apply for the amnesty,” he said.

On Dec. 1, the House committee on justice unanimously approved the revised Proclamation no. 75, which clarified that the effectivity of the amnesty will be “upon concurrence of a majority of all members of the Congress.”

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