RAM members ask Duterte for amnesty, reinstatement of benefits
Members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) have asked President Rodrigo Duterte for amnesty during their meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday.
Senator Gregorio Honasan led the RAM members, which included retired captain Felix Turingan, retired captain Glen Agudo, retired Navy commodore Rex Robles, retired colonel James Joven, retired police director Victor Batac, and engineer Jegie Pineda, in the meeting with the President.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the group “expressed support and offered help to the President.”
“They likewise asked the President for amnesty so that they could receive their back pay and livelihood opportunities for the members of the RAM,” Abella said in a Palace briefing on Friday.
He said the President viewed the meeting with RAM members as positive but has yet to issue a final decision.
“I believe he viewed it (with)… positively. I don’t know the exact action that he will take but the fact that he met with them shows that he is quite open to their requests.
RAM is the group of military officers that played a crucial role in the first Edsa people power revolution.
Honasan, one of the founders of RAM, was then the chief security aide of Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, who backed the plans to topple the leadership of former president Ferdinand Marcos.
The group also staged failed coup attempts against the administration of former president Corazon Aquino.
The RAM members were charged with rebellion and were later imprisoned. Honasan, however, was granted amnesty by former president Fidel Ramos in 1992.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Brig. General Restituto Padilla Jr. said the RAM members who were not granted amnesty were looking forward to get their benefits and gratuities.
“Ang hinahabol lang ho yata dito nu’ng mga ilan na hindi nabigyan ng amnesty at napardon ay ‘yung kanilang mga gratuities, ‘yung kanilang mga benefits (Those who were not granted amnesty or pardon were just after their gratuities and benefits),” Padilla said.
“So being of advanced age, of course, many of them will have requirements for health and support for their medicines. So besides [the] offer of assistance to the government that they can still contribute, ‘yun din po ‘yung pakay yata: makuha po ‘yung mga benefits na ‘to (that’s what they are after: to get their benefits),” he added. IDL
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