MANILA - Minority lawmakers felt it was premature to consider amnesty for communist rebels.
"Premature pa kasi maguusap pa lang sila," said Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque. "In fact, I think the President made a very big gamble when he declared a unilateral ceasefire dahil di naman natin alam kung susunod mga NPA (New People's Army). Wala pa silang deklarasyon kung sila din ay susunod.
"I appreciate the intention na itigil na yang putukan lalong lalo na sa NPA dahil binigyan na sila ng upuan sa gabinete. If you can work with the administration, why insist on armed struggle," he added.
READ: Duterte declares unilateral ceasefire with Reds
Roque clarified that as a matter of procedure, amnesty must be proclaimed by the President first before Congress acts.
"Congress actually concurs on a grant of amnesty. It is the President that gives amnesty which Congress must concur with," he said.
For his part, Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said: "We support any effort to end the continuing war between government and the NPA and the NDF (National Democratic Front) pero just giving up everything may not sit well with the real lasting solution. We're fighting an ideology that should also agree to give up armed struggle."
Former President, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo filed House Bill 490 seeking to grant amnesty to communist rebels, subject to certain conditions.