House passes measure on amnesty for ex-rebels; seven lawmakers object
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved four resolutions concurring with President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamations granting amnesty to members of different rebel groups.
The adopted resolutions concurring with Duterte’s proclamations granting amnesty to members of different rebel groups are as follows:
- House Concurrent Resolution 12 Concurring with Proclamation 1090 or “Granting Amnesty to Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Who Have Committed Crimes Punishable Under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws in Furtherance of Their Political Beliefs; (192, yes; 0, no; 1, abstained)
- House Concurrent Resolution 13 Concurring with Proclamation 1091 or “Granting Amnesty to Members of the Moro National Liberation Front Who Have Committed Crimes Punishable Under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws in Furtherance of Their Political Beliefs; (195, yes; 2, no; 1, abstained)
- House Concurrent Resolution 14 Concurring with Proclamation 1092 or Granting Amnesty to Members of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade Who Have Committed Crimes Punishable Under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws in Furtherance of Their Political Beliefs; (197, yes; 0, against; 1, abstained) and
- House Concurrent Resolution 15 Concurring with Proclamation 1093 or Granting Amnesty to Former Rebels of the Communist Group Who Have Committed Crimes Punishable Under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws in Furtherance of Their Political Beliefs (191, yes; 7, against; 1, abstained)
Seven representatives, however, opposed House Concurrent Resolution No. 15, the last of the four resolutions which concurred with Duterte’s amnesty for former communist rebels who committed crimes in pursuit of their political beliefs.
Six of those who opposed are members of the Macabayan bloc, Gabriela Representatives Eufemia Cullamat and Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite, and ACT Teachers’ Representative France Castro.
The seventh solon who voted against the measure was Quezon City Representative Kit Belmonte.
Brosas said the Macabayan bloc objected to the “extremely strange” resolution because it referred to a party that is “non-existent, fictional and pandering to terror-tagging being perpetrated by the Duterte administration.”
“HCR 15 refers to former rebels of ‘Communist Terrorist Group,’ or CTG when such term is merely coined by the state security forces,” Brosas said.
“Paano bibigyan ng amnestiya ang isang entidad na kathang-isip at likha lang ng gobyerno mismo [How can you give amnesty to an entity that is just make-believe and created only by the government]? How can the Duterte administration grant amnesty to a fictional entity which it created?” she added.
She said the use of the term CTG was alarming, as it is the exact term used by the military and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in branding legitimate groups who criticize the government as “terrorists.”
“How can you accord amnesty to a group which you label as ‘terrorist,’ and thus producing the effect of designating them as terrorists under the draconian Anti-Terror Law? HCR 15 is inherently contradictory, to say the least,” Brosas said.
“For these reasons, we cannot pitch our support, to a concurrent resolution that legitimizes the terror lexicon of the Duterte regime, and that which obscures the path to just and lasting peace,” she continued.
Brosas claimed that an amnesty proclamation which “glosses over massive poverty and injustice, can hardly achieve anything.”
The four House Concurrent Resolutions 12, 13, 14 and 15 were filed by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano.
The four resolutions are concurrent with Duterte’s Proclamations No. 1090 to 1093 signed Feb. 5, where he granted amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa–Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade Tabara Paduano Group (RPMP-RPA-ABB) and former rebels of the communist terrorist group.
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