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Romualdez thanks house colleagues

For boosting PRRD efforts to grant amnesty to rebels

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday lauded his colleagues after two House panels approved the committee reports on four concurrent resolutions granting amnesty to members of four rebel groups in the country.

Romualdez thanked the House committees on justice and on national defense and security, chaired by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso III and Iloilo Rep. Raul Tupas, respectively, and its members for performing their tasks commendably and with distinction to deliver President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s request to grant amnesty to various rebel groups.

“I thank my fellow House members for their exemplary work ethic. Their willingness to adopt technological tools allowed us to work non-stop even during our break and the lockdown,” Romualdez, one of the principal authors of four concurrent resolutions aimed at ensuring the country’s peace and stability.

“As the joint committees approve the committee reports for the House Concurrent Resolutions 12, 13 14 and 15, we have taken firm steps in concretizing the peace agenda. We have affirmed the peace process and expressed support to the government’s effort in attaining a just and hopefully sustainable peace for the Filipino people,” Tupas said.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Romualdez and House Minority Leader and Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano filed the four concurrent resolutions.

House Concurrent Resolution Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 15 respectively support the grant of amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB), and the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).

“We are one with President Rody Duterte’s efforts to attain peace and reconciliation in the country. We recognize this crucial need to accept the request of former combatants for amnesty so we could further stabilize our country and move towards healing, reconciliation, and reintegration,” Romualdez, a lawyer and the president of the Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said.

Last February 5, 2021, President Duterte issued Proclamation Nos. 1090, 1091, 1092, and 1093 granting amnesty to members of the MILF, MNLF, MILF, RPMP-RPA-ABB, and CTG who have committed crimes under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) or special penal laws in pursuit of their political beliefs.

Section 19, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution allows the President to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress.

The grant of amnesty will extinguish any criminal liability for acts committed in pursuit of political beliefs, without prejudice to the grantee’s civil liability for injuries or damages caused to private persons whose right to be indemnified is fully recognized herein.

It will also restore the grantee’s civil or political rights suspended or lost by virtue of criminal conviction.

Romualdez noted that the amnesty granted under the Proclamations will not cover kidnap for ransom, massacre, rape, terrorism and other crimes committed against chastity as defined in the RPC as amended; crimes committed for personal ends; violation of RA No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002; grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949; and those identified by the United Nations as crimes that can never be amnestied such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances and other gross violations of human rights.

Under the Proclamations, the clause “crimes committed in pursuit of a political belief” shall include, but shall not be limited to, “acts and omissions performed or undertaken as part of a plan, program of action or strategy decided by the rebel leadership to overthrow and replace the National Government, any of its political subdivisions, or duly constituted authority, with or without the use of arms,” Romualdez added.

He further said that once both Houses of Congress concur with the Proclamations, an Amnesty Commission will be created to review the applications. Members of the said groups may file their application with the Commission within one year from the affectivity of the Proclamation.