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Lacson questions proposal to grant amnesty to communist terrorist group members

/ 04:02 PM September 28, 2021
Lacson questions proposal to grant amnesty to ex-terrorist group members

Senator Panfilo Lacson during the joint hearing in the Senate led by the committee on national defense. Screengrab from Senate of the Philippines Youtube

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned on Tuesday the proposed amnesty granted to former members of the “communist terrorist groups.”

The Senate committee on national defense, in a joint hearing, deliberated House Concurrent Resolution Nos. 12 to 15, seeking to grant amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB), and former rebels of the communist terrorist group (CTG).

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“I cannot see any problem in processing ‘yung MILF, MNLF, even ‘yung RPA-ABB. Ang medyo contentious dito ‘yung CTG. I think sa House ata ‘yung mayroong proviso na ‘pagka proscribed na ‘yung terrorist organization, they’re no longer eligible,” Lacson, committee chair, raised.

(I cannot see any problem in processing the applications of MILF, MNLF, even the RPA-ABB. However, what’s contentious is the CTG. I think it’s in the House where there’s a proviso that they’re no longer eligible if the terrorist organization is proscribed.)

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“There’s a pending proscription case at the RTC Manila, hindi ba (right)? So, what if the RTC approves the proscription application of the government against the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front)? What happens now?” Lacson inquired.

READ: Court orders DOJ to summon Joma Sison over CPP-NPA case

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. responded that the move is in compassion for those who renounced membership of the CTG.

“It is really for the position of the NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) to really include this as one of the [strategies] wherein we can have massive surrenderees,” Galvez explained.

Lacson then asked if an amnesty application would not be entertained after the terrorist organization is proscribed or declared as a terrorist organization.

Office of the PAPP Assistant Secretary Agripino Javier answered that it is the proclamation’s provision, adding that it should not be limited and still entice rebels to go back to the folds of the law.

Lacson then noted that there could be an issue because there’s a government policy to not negotiate with terrorists.

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Alex Macario, the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, answered that the negotiation with terrorists is not absolute.

“I would just like to clarify ‘yung (the) term on no negotiation with the terrorist. Siguro ang gustong sabihin lang diyan (maybe what it just wants to say is that), hindi siguro absolute ‘yun (maybe that is not absolute), sir. Meaning, no negotiation kung may (if there is) kidnapping, negotiation for ransom. What is happening on the ground is that commanders are trying to go out of the way to convince surrenderees na mga (of) terrorism. The end state is to end the hostilities and for them to come back [to] the fold of the law,” Macario expounded, and which Lacson noted.

Lacson said the committee would prepare a report to the plenary on the discussed House Concurrent Resolutions.

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House passes measure on amnesty for ex-rebels; seven lawmakers object

Duterte grants amnesty to members of rebel groups

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TAGS: Amnesty, CPP, House Concurrent Resolution Nos. 12 to 15, MILF, MNLF, NDF, NPA, Panfilo Lacson, RPMP-RPA-ABB, Senate, terrorist groups
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