PASAY CITY – Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. shared during the 2023 Post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Discussions that “most of our peace partners are very happy particularly when [the President] announced the proclamation of amnesty.”

“I will issue a Proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees. I ask Congress to support us in this endeavor,” President Marcos Jr. said during his 2nd annual address last Monday.

Several government agency heads including Galvez attended the Post-SONA discussions focused on Good Governance, Peace and Security at the Hilton Hotel last Wednesday, July 26 – two days following President Marcos’ SONA.

“I would like to thank the president for his unwavering commitment for the peace process,” Sec. Galvez said. “Talagang lahat po ng partners including international peace and development partners are very, very happy.”

“Talagang crowning glory ang amnesty ng reconciliation and unity. Without amnesty, yung freedom of movement, political and civil rights of our former combatants will not be restored,” he added.

Under Section 19, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution, the President has “the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress.”

National Security Adviser (NSA) Sec. Eduardo Año, also present at the post-SONA Discussions expressed his support for the President’s call for amnesty: “Marami tayong tinanong na rebel returnees. Sabi nila maraming gusto mag-surrender pero nag-aalala sila sa mga kasong nakapatong sa kanilang ulo. Kung magkakaroon tayo ng amnesty, then mawawala na yang agam-agam na yan and finally we will achieve the lasting peace,” he said.

Currently, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) headed by Sec. Galvez is working closely with the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legislative Affairs (ODESLA) with regard to the Proclamation for granting amnesty for the former rebels.

It can be recalled that the current peace adviser also received a new lease on life after receiving pardon following the 1989 coup attempt during the time of President Fidel V. Ramos. Sec. Galvez was among the beneficiaries of President Ramos’ Proclamation No. 723 which granted amnesty to military officers during the coup. After receiving amnesty, he was able to rejoin military service and went on to become the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff in 2018. ###