Duterte to free political prisoners
DAVAO CITY—Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte said there will be no preconditions in the release of all political prisoners.
“I might decide to just free them before the (end of the) talks,” Duterte said, referring to all political prisoners, including consultants and leaders of the communist National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Duterte said he would do it as part of confidence-building measures in an effort to finally find a solution to a conflict that has adversely affected the country for decades.
“It is a show of confidence-building. Maski hindi maganda dahil wala namang negotiation na maganda talaga (Even if it’s not nice, but then what negotiation is nice). Whether civil or uncivil, in good manners or hindi, basta nagsimula na, sige i-release ko na (not, once it’s started, all right, I’ll release them),” Duterte said in a press briefing Monday night.
The tough-talking mayor said his only precondition for the negotiations is for them to keep talking.
“This is my condition—we must be talking to each other,” he said.
He said there would be no discrimination in the process and all political prisoners, including those with serious charges like top communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, would be released.
“All, as long as we deal in good faith,” the presumptive President-elect said.
“That will be part either of a pardon or amnesty. Usually, if it’s a large number of people, it is an amnesty,” he said, adding that all charges would be dropped.
“I am offering, as I’ve said, my hand of peace in good faith. So all of us must deal in good faith.”
He said he was opening the doors of the government to all the communists who wish to work with him.
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