400 ex-Moro rebels seek government pardon
COTABATO CITY—President Marcos has yet to organize the National Amnesty Commission (NAC) but over 400 members of the erstwhile rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have already sought pardon for alleged crimes in furtherance of their political beliefs.
The nongovernmental group Advocacy for the Advancement and Development of Mindanao (AFADMin) said amnesty applications of the 400 former secessionist fighters were recently submitted to the MILF peace implementing panel chaired by Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal.
A number of the amnesty applicants have standing arrest warrants while others were jailed in Camp Bagong Diwa in the City of Taguig and in the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City, said lawyer Badrodin Maguindra, a consultant for AFADMin.
AFADMin provides administrative assistance to former Moro fighters seeking amnesty from the government, through funding support from The Asia Foundation.
The grant of amnesty to former rebels and the creation of NAC were parts of the confidence-building measures agreed upon by the government and the MILF in the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
According to Iqbal, the amnesty “is a very important part of the normalization process” for former Moro guerrillas.
Then President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Feb. 5, 2021 Proclamation 1090 granting amnesty to MILF members charged with crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and other special penal laws for criminal offenses committed “in furtherance of their political beliefs.” Mr. Duterte then issued Executive Order 125 creating a seven-member NAC but the body has yet to be organized.
In the absence of the implementing rules and regulations for the NAC, “there are no clear guidelines from both the MILF and government panels” on how to go about with the amnesty process, Maguindra said.
Maguindra also noted that seeking amnesty under Proclamation 1090 was “quite challenging” compared to the general amnesty of former President Joseph Estrada.
He explained: “In Proclamation 1090, it is done individually. You have to go to the amnesty commission and prove to the commissioners that you’ve done such [crime] in furtherance of political ideologies of the MILF.”
Iqbal said he was hopeful the government would address the kinks bugging the amnesty process for former Moro rebels.
On August, Lanao del Sur Rep. Ziaur-Rahman Adiong filed House Resolution No. 193 urging President Marcos to immediately constitute the NAC to speed up the grant of amnesty to former Moro rebels.
READ: House panels concur with Duterte proclamations granting amnesty to ex-rebels
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