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Amnesty only extinguishes criminal liabilities of rebel soldiers, not their civil liabilities - Lacierda

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Malacanang clarified on Wednesday that the civil liabilities being faced by the rebel soldiers are not to be extinguished under the amnesty proclamation signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda told the Philippines News Agency that under Amnesty Proclamation No. 50, only the criminal liabilities of the military officers and enlisted men accused of trying to overthrow the previous administration will be extinguished.

According to Secretary Lacierda, under the proclamation, over 300 military officers and personnel, including detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, could apply for amnesty.

Those military officers and personnel involved in three military uprisings -- the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny, led by Trillanes; the February 2006 Marine standoff, led by former Col. Ariel Querubin; and the November 2007 Manila Peninsula siege, led by Trillanes and former Gen. Danilo Lim -- will benefit from the amnesty, Lacierda said.

The Palace spokesman also said that Proclamation No. 50 grants amnesty to all active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and their supporters who committed acts or omissions punishable under the Revised Penal Code, the Articles of War or other special laws related to the three military uprisings against the past administration.

Lacierda added that, aside from the civil liabilities, the amnesty shall not cover crimes against chastity and other crimes committed for personal ends.
President Aquino’s spokesman stressed that the approval of both chambers of Congress is needed before the amnesty could take effect.

Lacierda said that the Department of National Defense (DND) would process the applications when the amnesty proclamation becomes a law and the applicants will have 90 days to apply.

He further clarified that the move by the President of granting amnesty to the rebel soldiers is a show of reconciliation with all fronts since the government is also pursuing peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the New People's Army (NPA).

He stressed, however, that the amnesty to the mutineers does not imply that the government is encouraging or tolerating military adventurism.

Lacierda noted that under the amnesty proclamation, only enlisted personnel are allowed to be reintegrated with the AFP, but the officers cannot be reinstated into the military service.

He said that aside from extinguishing the criminal liabilities of the rebel soldiers, the grant of amnesty also restores their civil and political rights which include the right to vote, to run for elections and be elected.

Lacierda likewise noted that the amnesty will also reinstate the rights of AFP personnel to retirement and separation benefits.

Meanwhile, Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa explained that the amnesty can be granted even without final conviction. (PNA)




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