VP Sara asks PBBM to halt grant of amnesty to communist groups

By Wilnard Bacelonia

December 4, 2023, 8:33 pm

<p>Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte <em>(File photo) </em></p>

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte (File photo) 

MANILA – Vice President Sara Z. Duterte reiterated her full support to peace efforts but asked President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. not to grant amnesty to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Duterte issued the statement as the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) celebrated its 5th founding anniversary on Monday.

"Sumusuporta ako sa mga hakbang para itaguyod ang kapayapaan sa bansa (I support initiatives in sustaining peace in the country) because the fight against terrorists is deeply personal to me, as it is deeply personal to the families of countless Filipinos whose lives were forever upended because of the madness of terrorists. Pero hindi ang pagbibigay ng amnestiya ang daan sa kapayapaan (But granting amnesty is not the way to peace)," Duterte said.

"Ang dapat nating gawin ay ipagpatuloy ang ating mga nasimulan sa NTF-ELCAC at mas palakasin pa ang mga ito. Panalo na tayo. Lumalaban na ang mga komunidad (What we need to do is to continue what we've started in NTF-ELCAC and strengthen them. We've already won. Communities are already fighting back)," she added.

Duterte said the joint communique between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front is an "agreement with the devil."

"Napatunayan na natin sa kasaysayan na hindi sila seryoso at wala silang sinseridad sa usaping pangkapayapaan. Gagamitin nila itong peace negotiation sa pagtraydor sa pamahalaan at paglinlang sa taumbayan (The history will prove that they are not serious and not sincere in talking about peace. They will use this peace negotiation to betray the government and to trick the people). We appeal to your power to review these proclamations and agreements," she warned.

The Philippine government and the NDF recently agreed to a “principled and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict” after signing a joint statement in Oslo, Norway on Nov. 23.

Duterte noted that the government can negotiate for peace and reconciliation and pursue meaningful development efforts in the Philippines without "capitulating to the enemies."

"Sana po ay isaalang-alang natin ang ating mga komunidad na naging pugad ng mga terorista sa mahabang panahon na ngayon ay lumalaban na at tumutulong sa pamahalaan (We should also consider the communities that were once made hideouts of terrorists for a long period and now trying to fight them and help the government). Let us honor the memory of those who died in the senseless and bloody attacks of the NPA-CPP-NDFP," she said.

The Vice President recalled that in 2017, she personally saw a dying victim of an improvised explosive device explosion perpetrated by the NPA in Mandug, Davao City while she was still a mayor.

She also remembered personally apologizing to the mother of a Philippine Army official who died in an encounter with the NPA in Paquibato District.

Duterte said justice for the families of all the victims of the terrorist organization will not be served if Proclamations 403 at 404 are implemented.

Under Proclamation 403, Marcos granted amnesty to the members of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and special penal laws, specifically those committed crimes in pursuit of their political beliefs, whether punishable under the Revised Penal Code or special penal laws.

Meanwhile, Proclamation 404 grants amnesty to the former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF or their front organizations who have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal laws in furtherance of their political beliefs. (PNA)