Romualdez vows swift Lower House concurrence to Duterte’s amnesty proclamations

Published March 7, 2021, 3:30 PM

by Ben Rosario

Concurrence to President Rodrigo Duterte’s grant of amnesty to four rebel groups has assured by the House of Representatives as leaders of the chamber underscored their support to the chief executive’s efforts to bring peace and stability in the country.

Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez said the Lower House will swiftly adopt four House resolutions concurring with presidential Proclamation Nos. 1090, 1091, 1092 and 1093 granting amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation (MNLF), Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB) and the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG), respectively.

Issued on February 5 by Duterte, the four proclamation granted amnesty to members of the four rebel organizations that have committed crimes under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) or special penal laws in pursuit of their political beliefs.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Minority Leader and Abang Lingkod partylist Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano authored House Concurrent Resolutions No. 12, 13, 14 and 15 to declare the Lower Chamber’s concurrence to the presidential proclamations. The four measures have been referred to the Committees on Justice and on National Defense.

“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 said.

“We commit that the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, will work towards the timely adoption of these amnesty resolutions in line with the government’s peace program,” Romualdez, chair of the House Committee on Rules, added.

Romualdez said 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 presidential 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.

“At a difficult time like this, promoting an atmosphere conducive to the attainment of a just, comprehensive and enduring equanimity is a must as the government also works towards improving basic social services and progress,” said Romualdez, a lawyer and the president of the Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).

However, the Leyte lawmaker said the amnesty will not cover 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 and violation of RA No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002.

Also not covered by the presidential absolution are 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.