Amnesty for ex-Moro rebels is Bangsamoro’s wish during President’s SONA | Inquirer News

Amnesty for ex-Moro rebels is Bangsamoro’s wish during President’s SONA

/ 01:32 PM July 24, 2023

Amnesty for ex-Moro rebels is Bangsamoro’s wish during President’s SONA

Moro Islamic Liberation Front. AFP FILE PHOTO

KORONADAL CITY — Some members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) expressed their wish on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,’s second state of the nation address (SONA) on July 24 that former members of Moro rebel groups, who signed peace deals with the government, be given blanket amnesty.

BTA Parliament Deputy Floor Leader Mary Ann Arnado said the granting of blanket amnesty would not only give the former Moro rebels a new lease on life but would also be in keeping with the administration’s call for unity while protecting the gains of the peace process.


Some members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) did not make it to the January 24 deadline for amnesty application.


The MILF signed a peace deal with the government in 2014 that eventually led to the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the setting up of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The MNLF signed a peace agreement  with the government in 1996.

This prompted several BTA members to call on President Marcos Jr. earlier this week to issue another proclamation to extend the amnesty period.

Arnado appealed to the President to discuss the extension and implementation of the amnesty program for the two Moro fronts during his SONA.

“We appeal to President Marcos to extend and fully complete the amnesty program in the spirit of unity,” she said, adding that the date for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the mid-term and the first Bangsamoro parliamentary elections in May 2025 was already fast approaching and that there was little time left for the former Moro combatants to avail themselves of the program.

“We are asking the President to extend the application for amnesty for MILF and MNLF members (after its deadline lapsed in January this year). The granting of amnesty will help sustain the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process,” Deputy Parliament Speaker Lanang Ali Jr. said in Cotabato City on Tuesday, July 18.


The amnesty to former MILF and MNLF rebels was covered by Proclamations 1090 and 1091 issued by former president Rodrigo Duterte in February 2021 and concurred to by the House of Representatives and the Senate on Jan. 24 last year.

Since the two proclamations had a lifespan of a year only, those who failed to apply before the Jan. 24 deadline this year would still have to await for a possible extension of the deadline before they could apply for amnesty.

NAC Chairperson Leah Tanodra-Armamento welcomed the call to extend the application period. She said, however, those eligible to apply under the existing proclamations were individual members of the MNLF or MILF who committed crimes enumerated under the Revised Penal Code or special laws.

Armamento said acts other than those enumerated under the law were not covered by the amnesty.

The blanket amnesty that some BTA members were asking meant that the former Moro rebels would be cleared of all cases pending against them, to give them a fresh start in life.

“By granting them blanket amnesty (for waging an armed revolution against the government), you remove the sword hanging over their heads that they could be arrested any time. Amnesty is about forgiveness,” Arnado said.

But Armamento said amnesty, as a public act of the President, would be a reflection of the national government’s vision of achieving reconciliation and unity and thus “should only cover offenses that are politically motivated and affecting the national interest.”

“Blanket amnesty will defeat this purpose, as it will obliterate criminal liabilities for crimes committed by private individuals with self-serving interests. Consequently, this will have an adverse impact on the nation’s quest for justice,” she said.

The mandate of the BTA, the interim body tasked to govern the Bangsamoro region during the transition period, will end on June 30, 2025, when the first set of elected Parliament officials shall have taken their oath of office.

One of the items needed to be completed within the transition period is the amnesty for the former Moro rebels, which is covered under the normalization tract of the peace process.


General amnesty for all rebels sought | Inquirer News

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TAGS: Amnesty, Bangsamoro, Bongbong Marcos, Moro rebels, SONA 2023

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