[Pnews] Groups describe as ‘prank’ Duterte’s amnesty offer to Leftists | Kodao Productions

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Wed Sep 8 10:44:28 EDT 2021


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Groups
describe as ‘prank’ Duterte’s amnesty offer to Leftists | Kodao
ProductionsSeptember
7, 2021
------------------------------

Political detainees as well as human rights groups and lawyers slammed as
“prank” the Rodrigo Duterte government’s offer of amnesty to Leftist
political prisoners, designed to prevent future peace negotiations from
happening.

In a statement read in a recent online forum, six political prisoners
condemned Proclamation 1093 offering amnesty to suspected and convicted
Leftist rebels as an instrument of “continuing oppression.”

“Proclamation 1093 will not provide genuine amnesty. This cannot be the
means for the release of political prisoners,” detained National Democratic
Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants Vicente Ladlad, Rey
Casambre, Ferdinand Castillo, Frank Fernandez, Reynante Gamara and
Adelberto Silva said.

President Duterte signed last February 16 proclamations 1090, 1091, 1092
and 1093 granting amnesty to suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng
Mangagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade
(RPMP-RPA-ABB) and “Communist Terrorist Group” members, respectively.

The House of Representatives concurred under its Concurrent Resolution No.
15 approved last May 19, but the Senate has yet to react to the edicts.

In a statement, Kapatid said that while political prisoners are not closing
the door to a grant of amnesty, it is “…totally unjust that those foisted
with false charges will own up to crimes they did not commit just to be
able to leave prison.”

Kapatid said that for the political prisoners, Proclamation 1093 that
refers to Leftist rebels is “fake” and a “trap” because:

1. Amnesty will be granted only to “rebels” who had surrendered or those
referred to as “rebel returnees;”

2. It will not be granted to most political prisoners who were arrested,
detained, charged with or convicted of trumped-up criminal charges since
they did not surrender;

3. It will not cover those who have been proscribed and charged and
convicted under the Human Security Act of 2007 and the Anti-Terrorism Act
of 2020;

4. It puts the burden on political prisoners to prove that the crimes they
supposedly committed were in furtherance of their political beliefs; and

5. The applicant must admit, in writing and under oath, their guilt on
charges they are criminally liable for although the charges are falsified.

Kapatid said the political prisoners also condemned the use of the term
“communist terrorist group” to “disparage and degrade the political
standing” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s
Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The Duterte government has designated the three revolutionary organizations
as terrorists in separate proclamations in 2017 and this year.

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia said Proclamation
1093’s intention is suspect for its description of its supposed
beneficiaries.

 “[T]he premise, framework, and implication of the use of the term
‘communist terrorist group’ render this kind of amnesty patently
objectionable and unacceptable, legally and politically,” Olalia said.

“It is practically an institutionalized self-flagellation and it demeans
political prisoners, using the dangle of inchoate freedom and the seduction
of material bribery,” the human rights lawyer said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate noted that the amnesty being offered to
Leftists are unlike those offered to the MILF, MNLF and the RPMP-RPA-ABB
that were outcomes of peace agreements.

“[W]e should remember that this regime ended the peace negotiations. The
amnesty is in fact based on Executive Order No. 70 – the government order
which ended peace negotiations, justified imprisonment of activists, and
paved the way for killing human rights defenders,” the legislator noted.

“The government said that it will no longer engage with peace negotiations
but they are saying now that localized peace negotiations were held for
former rebels to be granted amnesty. This amnesty proclamation is a ploy to
totally prevent peace talks from transpiring,” Zarate, also a human rights
lawyer, added.

The six detained NDFP peace consultants said they insist on “general,
unconditional and omnibus amnesty.”

“General amnesty means it covers all political prisoners and other
political offenders according to a pre-screened list. Unconditional amnesty
means no preconditions will be imposed on political prisoners before they
are set free. Omnibus amnesty means it will cover all court cases of
political prisoners,” the detainees said. # *(Raymund B. Villanueva)*
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