PASIG CITY – Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. welcomed the National Amnesty Commission’s (NAC) issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the amnesty proclamations that were officially adopted by the body on March 14, 2024.

“We congratulate the NAC for releasing the IRR for Amnesty Proclamation Nos. 403, 404, 405, and 406 that were issued by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. We are very pleased with this development,” Galvez said.

“With the issuance of the IRR, former rebels who have turned away from armed struggle and laid down their arms will be able to complete their normalization and transition to mainstream society as peaceful, productive and law-abiding citizens,” he noted.
Obliterates offenses, restores civil and political rights

Amnesty is defined as “That which overlooks and obliterates the offense with which a person is charged such that the person released by amnesty stands before the law precisely as though he had committed no offense.”

The granting of amnesty extinguishes any and all criminal liability for the acts subject of the amnesty grant, and restores all civil and political rights suspended or lost by virtue of criminal conviction.

In President Marcos’ State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2023, he underscored the importance of granting amnesty to former rebels, as this will be the key in addressing the roots of the armed conflict in the country.

“For almost half a century, some of our fellow Filipinos have taken to arms to make their views known and felt. We are now at a point in our history when their armed struggle has evolved. We have now progressed together towards peace and development,” he said.

“We have incorporated capacity-building and social protection into our reintegration programs to guarantee full decommissioning of former combatants. Through community development and livelihood programs, the Barangay Development and Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs have been effective in addressing the root cause of conflict in the countryside,” President Marcos pointed out.

“To complete this reintegration process, I will issue a Proclamation granting amnesty to rebel returnees, and I ask Congress to support me in this endeavor,” the President vowed.

Months after the SONA, President Marcos issued Proclamation Nos. 403, 404, 405, and 406, series of 2023, which grants amnesty to members of the Rebolusyunaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas / Revolutionary Proletarian Army / Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB), former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and their front organizations, members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and members of the Moro National Liberation front (MNLF), respectively.

The House of Representatives and the Senate concurred with all four resolutions, paving the way for the crafting and issuance of the IRR.

Amnesty key to full transformation

Galvez said the former rebels can now be fully transformed.

“Without amnesty, we cannot have a full transformation to former rebels. Transformation is the central part in the implementation of the peace agreement,” he said.

He emphasized that the granting of amnesty “is a realization of the commitments made by the national government under the comprehensive Philippine peace process and will pave the way for their full transformation into agents of peace and development.”

“Through this IRR, the Marcos Administration is sending a clear and strong message that the national government is sincere and committed to help these former rebels, as well as their families, to walk the path of peace,” the Peace Adviser said.

“The granting of amnesty will not only give them relief for the crimes they have committed, but more importantly, provide them an opportunity to rebuild their lives and create a better future for themselves and their loved ones,” he said.

“Once again, we wish to thank the House of Representatives and the Senate, headed by House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Senate President Miguel Zubiri for fully supporting the Amnesty Proclamations,” Galvez said.

“The invaluable support coming from both houses of Congress is a testament of their commitment to help push forward the comprehensive Philippine peace process, and to bring a just and lasting peace to all Filipinos,” he stressed.

Amnesty coverage

Crimes covered by the amnesty proclamations include rebellion or insurrection; conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion or insurrection; disloyalty of public officers or employees; inciting to rebellion or insurrection; sedition; conspiracy to commit sedition; inciting to sedition; illegal assembly; illegal association; direct assault; indirect assault; resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person; tumults and other disturbances of public order; unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances; alarms and scandals; illegal possession of firearms, ammunition or explosives; and those charged, detained or convicted of common crimes but who can establish by substantial evidence that they have actually committed said crimes in pursuit of political beliefs.

On the other hand, crimes not covered by the amnesty proclamations include kidnap for random; massacre; rape; other crimes committed against chastity as defined in the Revised Penal Code as amended; crimes committed for personal ends; violation of Republic Act No. 9165; grave violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949; and those crimes identified by the United Nations that can never be amnestied.

Application process

According to the NAC, individuals who are seeking amnesty must file their applications with any Local Amnesty Board (LAB), where they will have to undergo initial eligibility assessments.

The LAB will then forward its recommendations to the NAC, which will further review the amnesty applications and provide its recommendations to the President for final approval.

In cases where applicants who are facing arrest warrants want to personally submit their applications to the LAB, they can request from the board in advance a provisional safe conduct pass.

Meanwhile, individuals who are currently being held in detention facilities will receive assistance from supervisory officers within their detention centers to facilitate their applications.

For applicants who are residing abroad, they may apply for amnesty through the Philippine consulate in their current country of residence.

According to the NAC, the window for amnesty applications “spans two years from the effective dates of the Proclamations: March 4, 2024, for members of the RPMP-RPA-ABB, MILF, and MNLF, and March 13, 2024, for former members associated with the CPP-NPA-NDF and their front organizations.”###