PGMA issues amnesty to communist rebel groups
Manila (11 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently issued Proclamation No. 1377 to grant amnesty to members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and other communist rebel groups in the country.
Section 2 of the proclamation provides that the amnesty "shall cover the crime of rebellion and all other crimes included therein, or incident thereto in pursuit of political belief as defined by jurisprudence, whether punishable under the Revised Penal Code or special laws.
Not covered by the proposed amnesty are crimes against chastity, rape, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols, even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs.
Amnesty shall be granted to members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and other communist rebel groups who shall file application under oath with the National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) and the Provincial or City Peace and Order Council Amnesty Centers (P/CPOC-ACs) within six (6) months from the effectivity of the proclamation.
Highlights of the Proclamation are:Any member of the CPP-NPA-NDF and other communist rebel groups who has committed any act or omission in pursuit of political belief referred to in Section 2, including those detained, charged or convicted for such acts or omission, may file an application for amnesty.
Those who have already been granted amnesty
under previous amnesty proclamations shall no longer qualify under Proclamation 1377.
Those who have been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction may benefit from a grant of amnesty by the restoration of applicants' civil or political rights only.
Persons who applied for amnesty under previous proclamations but whose applications were not considered for having been made outside the required period for filing may apply under this Proclamation.
Applicants with firearms are required to turn over their firearms within 30 days from their filing of application for amnesty without incurring liability for illegal possession.
Amnesty under Proclamation 1377 shall 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.
Unless detained pursuant to law, a person who applies for amnesty shall be issued a Safe Conduct Pass by the Provincial or City Peace and Order Council Amnesty Center (P/CPOC-AC). The Safe Conduct Pass shall provide immunity from warrantless arrests for offenses covered under this Proclamation.
The National Committee on Social Integration (NSCI) upon due deliberation, shall issue the corresponding Certificate of Amnesty to qualified applicants. The filing of an application herein shall not ipso facto result in a grant of amnesty.
The grant of amnesty shall restore the grantee's civil and political rights lost or suspended by virtue of conviction for crime/s covered thereby.
The amnesty decree is part of the social integration program for former rebels as provided under Administrative Order No. 172 which the President issued on March 23, 2007.
According to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita,certified copies of the proclamation have been transmitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives for concurrence in accordance with the Constitution.
The proclamation accepts rebels back into the fold of the law through amnesty and eventually providing them access to the government's existing socio-economic services. These are essential to attaining peace and reconciliation in the country and as a path for their return to a peaceful, democratic, and pluralistic society. (PIA-MMIO) [top]