File photo of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte 

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed four proclamations granting amnesty to members of the communist movement, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Mangagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB).

Duterte on Feb. 5 signed Proclamations 1090, 1091, 1092, and 1093 to grant amnesty to members of the said groups who have committed crimes in pursuit of their political beliefs.

Palace released the copy of the proclamations, which shall take effect upon concurrence by a majority of all the members of Congress, on Tuesday.

In his proclamations, Duterte said the government’s peace policy is to nurture a climate conducive for peace, as well as to implement programs for reconciliation and reintegration of rebels into mainstream society.

“There is a need for the government to act on former combatants request for the grant of amnesty so that they may live in peace in the pursuit of productive endeavors without prejudice to any legal arrangement that may result from a negotiated settlement which the government is pursuing with the various rebel and insurgent groups,” the proclamations read.

According to the presidential proclamations, the grant of amnesty in favor of the former rebels will “promote an atmosphere conducive to the attainment of a just, comprehensive, and enduring equanimity.”

Granting amnesty is also in line with the government’s call for peace, unity, and reconciliation to bring closure to past enmity, rancor, and bitterness that has stymied lasting amity among Filipinos, the proclamations said.

The amnesty will not be granted to those who have been proscribed or changed under the Human Security Act of 2007 or Republic Act (RA) 9372 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 or RA 11479.

The proclamations note that the crimes committed in pursuit of a political belief include “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.”

The amnesty granted shall not cover kidnap for ransom, massacre, rape, terrorism, and other crimes committed against chastity as defined in the amended Revised Penal Code, crimes committed for personal ends, violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002 or RA 9165, and grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949.

Other crimes not covered by Duterte’s amnesty are those identified by the United Nations that can never be amnestied such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances, and other gross violations of human rights.

Members of the communist group, MNLF, MILF, and RPMP-RPA-ABB may apply for amnesty, provided that they commit the crime before the issuance of the proclamations.

A person who has been granted amnesty under previous amnesty proclamations is no longer qualified to apply for Duterte’s amnesty.

Three days after the filing of the proclamations, Duterte formed the National Amnesty Commission that will process applications for amnesty of former rebels and determine whether the applicants are eligible.

Applications for the grant of amnesty shall be filed under oath with the Amnesty commission within one year from the effectivity of the proclamations.

If granted amnesty, former rebels will be able to restore their civil or political rights suspended or lost by virtue of criminal conviction, based on the proclamations.

The amnesty will also 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. (PNA)