THE House of Representatives is poised to expedite the approval of resolutions aligned with the proclamations by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. giving amnesty to insurgents before lawmakers break for the Christmas holidays on December 13.
On Wednesday, House leaders filed House Concurrent Resolutions 19, 20, 21 and 22, concurring with the amnesty proclamations that Marcos issued. These resolutions were referred to the House Committee on Justice for deliberation.
“We will act with dispatch on these concurrent resolutions, and we will strive to approve them before our Christmas break so that rebels who sincerely desire to return to the fold of law and lead normal lives, along with the members of their family and our nation in general, could enjoy the blessings of peace as soon as possible,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said last Thursday.
“The timely adoption of these concurrent resolutions is attuned to the spirit of hope, peace, and joy that the Christmas season brings,” added Romualdez.
Marcos’s amnesty proclamations will come into effect upon the concurrence of a majority of all members of Congress.
The Amnesty Commission is tasked with issuing the implementing rules and regulations for the amnesty program within 15 days of the proclamation’s effectivity.
Amnesty Proclamations 403, 404, 405 and 406 pertain to members of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB), the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CP-NPA-NDF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), respectively.
The House Resolutions express support for the government’s efforts in fostering a conducive climate for peace and implementing programs for the reconciliation and reintegration of rebels into mainstream society, according to the lawmakers.
Both Houses of Congress, as per the resolutions, acknowledge the importance of addressing the requests of rebel returnees for amnesty, enabling them to live peacefully while pursuing productive endeavors.
As far as the members of secessionist movements in the South, the concurrent resolutions said both Houses of Congress share the view that the granting of amnesty enables the delivery of an important commitment of the government under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, particularly the gradual normalization of the previously conflict-affected areas.
It would, likewise, provide a meaningful and complete transformation and assimilation of the decommissioned combatants into peaceful and progressive lives toward national reconciliation and healing in the Bangsamoro.
The authors of the concurrent resolutions pointed out that transforming armed combatants into productive citizens and peace partners is necessary to achieve the paramount ends of the peace process: national unity, solidarity, and progress for all Filipinos.
It is imperative that we concur with the amnesty proclaimed by the President for the general interest of Filipinos and for lasting peace, unity, and reconciliation, the authors of the concurrent resolutions said.
The amnesty proclamation does not cover those charged under Republic Act (RA) 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007) and RA 11479 (Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020).
Also outside the scope of the amnesty proclamations are those who are facing charges for kidnapping for ransom, massacre, rape, terrorism, crimes committed against chastity as defined in the Revised Penal Code (as amended) and crimes committed for personal ends. Also excluded are those charged with violations of RA 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), with grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and those identified by the United Nations as crimes that can never be the subject of amnesty.
The latter are genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances and other gross violations of human rights.
Applications for the grant of amnesty shall be filed under oath with the Amnesty Commission within two years from the effectivity of the amnesty proclamation.