Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Thursday praised his colleagues after two committees at the House of Representatives approved the committee reports on four concurrent resolutions granting amnesty to members of four rebel groups.
Romualdez thanked the House committees on justice and on national defense and security, led 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 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,” said 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 have filed the four concurrent resolutions.
House Concurrent Resolutions 12, 13, 14 and 15, respectively, support the grant of amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade and the Communist Terrorist Group.
“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 and the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said.
On February 5, 2021, Duterte issued Proclamation 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 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 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.
It is also expected to 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 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 said.
He 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 effectivity of the proclamation.