OSLO, Norway: A member of the Philippine government panel, Angela Librado-Trinidad, said a draft amnesty proclamation covering hundreds of leaders and members of the National Democratic Front (NDF), Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), has been submitted to the Office of the President.
She said the draft was submitted a week before the panel left the country for the second round of the peace negotiations that started on Oct. 6.
“We have in our possession a stamped receipt of our endorsement letter together with the draft proclamation. It was received by the Office of the Executive Secretary on Sept. 27,” Librado said.
Covered by the draft proclamation are 434 detained leaders and alleged members of the NDF, CPP and NPA.
The NDF earlier included in the list 81 detained rebels who it said should be released on humanitarian grounds.
The draft proclamation will also include NDF consultants who were already released on bail and are now participating in the peace negotiations.
During the opening session of the second round of talks here, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said they understand the concerns raised by the NDF panel over the continued detention of their members. He, however, explained that the amnesty has to go through the process, which includes a review of the draft proclamation and concurrence of Congress “when the president has already signed it.”
Government panel chief negotiator Silvestre Bello 3rd said the release of the detained rebels is just a matter of time.
“I see no reason why we cannot do it the way we are accelerating the peace process,” Bello added.
The draft proclamation now under review at the presidential palace covers only the updated list of detained rebels submitted on Sept. 15 by NDF chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili.
Librado said the government is reconstituting the Presidential Committee on Bail, Recognizance, and Pardon (PCBREP) to facilitate the immediate release of prisoners on humanitarian grounds.
“The guidelines have already been signed by the Secretaries of the three departments (Departments of Justice, Defense, and Interior and Local Government) and is on its way to the Office of the President for review and signing,” she said.