Palace submits revised amnesty order

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2010 03:14 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2010 06:15 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang has transmitted to the Senate a copy of Proclamation 75, the revised version of Proclamation 50 granting amnesty to rebel soldiers.

Section 1 of Proclamation 75 now includes members of the Philippine National Police as beneficiaries of the amnesty.

The section limits the coverage of the amnesty to soldiers involved in the Oakwood Mutiny, 2006 Marine standoff and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.  It removes the line "and other related incidents", which was present in Proclamation 50 issued last October.

The amnesty does not cover the crimes of rape and acts of torture.

Section 2 has an additional provision providing for an ad hoc committee of the Department of National Defense to receive and process amnesty applications. The DND decision can be appealed but the decision will be immediately executory even if appealed.

Section 3 clarifies that applications may be filed 90 days following the publication of the proclamation "as concurred in by a majority of all members of Congress."

The new proclamation also specifies that only enlisted military personnel with the rank of up to technical sergeant and police personnel up to the rank of SPO3 are entitled to reinstatement to the service,  according to Section 4-A. However, reinstated personnel will not be entitled to back pay.

Section 4-D states that commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the military with the rank of at least master sergeant and police officers with the rank of at least SPO4 are not entitled to remain in the service nor receive back pay.

Section 4-E states that all military and police personnel granted amnesty but who are not reintegrated shall be entitled to retirement and separation benefits.

Finally, the effectivity clause under Section 6 makes it clear that the proclamation shall take affect only upon concurrence of a majority of all the members of Congress.

Proclamation 50 was amended after members of the House of Representatives suggested that certain parts be revised, including the effectivity clause, which stated that the proclamation shall take effect immediately after the President signs it.

In his letter to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. asked for the chamber's concurrence.

"The President will highly appreciate it if the committee and plenary hearings on the proclamation can be scheduled by the Senate at the earliest time possible," Ochoa said.
The proclamation has been referred to the committee on peace, unification and reconciliation chaired by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III.

The Senate was supposed to concur with the proclamation earlier this week but Guingona said the process is back to square one because of the amendments.

Guingona said his committee will hold another hearing on the amnesty proclamation after the budget deliberations.