MEMBERS of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) members, led by Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, is seeking amnesty and back pay from the government, Malacanang said on Friday.
In a press conference, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the RAM members, during their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang, “expressed support and offered help to the President.”
“They likewise asked the President for amnesty so that they could receive their back pay and livelihood opportunities for the members of the RAM,” Abella told reporters.
Asked if Duterte planned to grant the amnesty request, Abella said there was no final decision yet.
“I believe he viewed it positively. I don’t know the exact action that he will take but the fact that he met with them shows that he is quite open to their requests,” he said.
During the Palace press briefing, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Restituto Padilla Jr. said that RAM members’ request for amnesty was so that they could get gratuities and benefits for their “advanced age.”
“So being of advanced age, of course, many of them will have requirements for health and support for their medicines,” Padilla said.
Aside from Honasan, present were the RAM officers: retired captain Felix Turingan, retired captain Glen Agudo, retired Navy Commodore Rex Robles, retired colonel Marcelino Malajacan Jr., retired colonel Hernando Caraig, retired colonel James Joven, retired Police Director Victor Batac, and Engr. Jegie Pereda.
Honasan was one of the “EDSA heroes” and leaders of the RAM, which broke away from the Marcos dictatorship. He also joined two failed coup attempts, in August 1987 and December 1989, against the administration of the late president Corazon Aquino, which he helped install.
He and his group reached a peace agreement with the Ramos administration.
Honasan first became a senator in 1995 and has been re-elected thrice.
The senator’s meeting with the President came after he was indicted for graft and posted bail for alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel. CATHERINE S. VALENTE