President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s grant of amnesty for rebels was “neither new nor novel,” and the grant was always exercised by almost all Philippine Presidents before him.
Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte explained the dynamics of amnesty amid government efforts to welcome those who have turned their back on violence and swear allegiance once again to the government.
“President Laurel wiped the slate clean for belligerents during the Japanese occupation. And after the war had ended, President Roxas amnestied officials who by force of circumstances were forced to collaborate with the enemy,” said Rep. Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party.
“Even President Duterte signed an amnesty declaration for more than 7,000 former rebels, to which Congress duly concurred, as such act can only be binding when ratified by the legislature,” he stressed.
But Rep. Villafuerte explained that under President Marcos Jr.’s amnesty program, “acts of rape and murders will not be forgotten nor forgiven. No absolution of offenses will be given to these criminals.”
“Our mailed-fist policy against groups who want to overthrow the government remains firm,” Rep. Villafuerte said.
The Philippine government, the Bicolano lawmaker said, welcomes all “those who want to return to the fold of law.”
“We extend a welcome hand, once they are properly vetted, after they have irrevocably turn their backs to violence, and swear allegiance to the Republic,” Rep. Villafuerte said.
“This fratricide among brother Filipinos must end. A perpetual war has no winners, only losers. The toll on human lives is not only high, economic progress has also been forfeited, creating deep pockets of poverty in areas where conflict remains,” he added.