Amnesty for Trillanes et Al
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno S. Aquino III has granted amnesty to detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and about 300 soldiers charged with the failed coup attempts against the Arroyo administration.
However, Aquino's amnesty proclamation needs the concurrence of both Houses of Congress to become effective.
The President signed Proclamation No. 50 last Monday "granting amnesty to active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their supporters who may have committed acts or omissions punishable under the Revised Penal Code, the Articles of War or other special law committed in connection with the Oakwood mutiny (July 27, 2003), the Marines standoff (February, 2006), and the Peninsula Manila Hotel siege (Nov. 29, 2007) and related incidents."
But the Palace has yet to release the list of the soldiers covered by the amnesty.
"I signed it yesterday. We'll submit it to Congress for concurrence," Aquino told reporters in a Trade and Industry event in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday morning.
Aquino said there is a need to declare amnesty in favor of the active and former personnel of the AFP and their supporters in order to promote an atmosphere conducive to the attainment of a just, comprehensive and enduring peace and in line with the government's peace and reconciliation initiatives.
Covered by the amnesty are members of Magdalo group, an erstwhile military reformist group transformed into a nationwide socio-political movement. One of its members is Trillanes, who ran and won with Aquino for the Senate in 2007 under the banner of the Genuine Opposition (GO) coalition.
"He'll be covered," Aquino said of Trillanes.
Military officer Capt. Nicanor Faeldon who had surrendered to the military just last July after more than two years in hiding after the Manila Peninsula takeover, can also apply for amnesty, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
"The process is there's a proclamation, the proclamation needs the concurrence of both chambers of Congress then it becomes a law. Department of National Defense will be processing the application for amnesty once we secure the concurrence of Congress-," said Aquino who had volunteered the information of the granting of amnesty to the mutineers to reporters.
He said last Monday that he was studying the Senate Resolution No. 217 right after his press conference on the results of the Palace review of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report on the August 23 hijacking incident in Manila which absolved his long-time pal Interior Secretary Rico Puno from any responsibility over the bungled police rescue of the hostages.
Section 4 of Proclamation No. 50 extinguishes any criminal liability for acts committed in relation to, in connection with, or incident to the July 27, 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines standoff, and the November 29, 2007 Peninsula Manila siege without prejudice to the grantee's civil liability for injuries or damages caused to private persons.
"Also the grant of amnesty shall also effect the restoration of civil and political rights of entitlement that may have been suspended, lost or adversely affected by virtue of an executive action and/or administrative criminal action or proceedings lodged against the grantee in connection with the subject incidents, including criminal conviction or any form, if any. All enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on the other hand, whose applications for amnesty would be approved shall be entitled to reintegration or reinstatement, subject to existing laws and regulations.
"Officers of the AFP shall not be entitled to reintegration or reinstatement into the service," Proclamation No. 50 stated while it shall reinstate the right of AFP personnel to retirement and separation benefits, if so qualified under existing laws and regulations at the same time of the commission of the acts for which the amnesty is extended. …