Duterte to free 20 political prisoners | Inquirer News
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Duterte to free 20 political prisoners

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 02:47 AM December 20, 2016

President Duterte has green-lighted the release of about 20 political prisoners ahead of the 48th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Dec. 26, government peace panel chair Silvestre Bello III said on Monday.

Mr. Duterte had earlier rejected the demand of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the CPP’s political arm, to set free 130 detained insurgents, saying he had given “too much, too soon” to the communists.

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In an interview, Bello, also the labor secretary, said Mr. Duterte would sign the release order for the political detainees before Christmas Day.

He said among those who would be freed were “elderly and sickly prisoners” on humanitarian considerations.

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Mr. Duterte has also agreed to pardon some of the political detainees while others will be released through “bail recognizance,” Bello said.

“They are mostly sickly, elderly and women (prisoners),” Bello told reporters.

When asked if the release of the political prisoners has been approved in principle by Mr. Duterte, he replied: “More or less, because that’s what he has mentioned.”

Asked if the NDFP panel had already been notified of Mr. Duterte’s decision, he said: “I think they are expecting.”

Mr. Duterte, who often described himself as the country’s first “socialist president,” initiated the revival of peace negotiations with the NDFP.

The talks were stalled during the Arroyo and Aquino administrations.

Mr. Duterte also declared a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP’s armed component, the New People’s Army, to encourage the talks.

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TAGS: Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front of the Philippines, Philippine news updates, political prisoners, Silvestre Bello III
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