MANILA, Philippines – Previous Philippine presidents have used their power to grant amnesty to persons and groups “who may be guilty of political offenses,” often to facilitate peace processes or entice rebels to return to mainstream life.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was one of those granted amnesty by former President Benigno Aquino III in connection with botched mutinies that he led against the Arroyo administration.
But President Rodrigo Duterte voided this proclamation “effective immediately,” in an order signed on August 31 and released to the public on Tuesday, September 4.
Here are other groups and personalities who have been granted amnesty:
Mutineers against Arroyo administration
Under Presidential Proclamation no. 75 issued by Aquino in 2010, soldiers involved in at least 2 failed mutinies against the Arroyo administration were granted amnesty. This took effect in 2011, when at least 79 mutineers applied for – and were given – amnesty, including Trillanes.
Some of them were previously granted amnesty under the Ramos administration for their involvement in failed coups against then president Corazon Aquino. But they joined subsequent mutinies again.
Below is the list of 2011 amnesty applicants, a copy of which was given to Rappler by one of them. We’re also highlighting some of the prominent personalities granted amnesty that year.
Office of Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Nicanor Faeldon
Along with Trillanes and other officers belonging to the Magdalo group, Faeldon joined the August 2003 Oakwood mutiny that protested alleged corruption in the Arroyo administration. He also took part in the Manila Peninsula Hotel siege 4 years later, under the same president.
Faeldon was named customs chief under the Duterte administration until he was forced to resign in August 2017 over corruption charges.
Retired Marine colonel Ariel Querubin
Querubin was involved in two previous coup attempts under two presidents. In December 1989, the Marine officer joined the bloodest coup against the late president Corazon Aquino. He was granted amnesty after Fidel Ramos became president in 1992. But in 2006, under the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Querubin was again involved in the standoff of the Marines at their headquarters in Fort Bonifacio. Aquino granted him amnesty for this offense.
Querubin is now a top security consultant of San Miguel Corporation.
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim
Lim was involved in the 2007 Manila Peninsula Hotel siege along with Trillanes and other Magdalo officers. Like Querubin, he also took part in the 1989 coup attempt against Cory Aquino as a member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM); he was later granted amnesty by Ramos.
A retired Scout Ranger commander, Lim is a graduate of the US military academy in West Point.
Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano
Alejano was involved in the 2003 Oakwood incident and the Manila Peninsula siege, which led to his incarceration for 4 years. Along with Trillanes and other young officers then, he formed the Magdalo Para sa Pagbabago Movement (MPPM) and organized the Samahang Magdalo, Inc. (SMI).
Alejano said he is running for the Senate in next year’s elections.
Quezon City Representative Joseph Christopher ‘Kit’ Belmonte
Belmonte was a former counsel of the Magdalo party. He was arrested along with 6 junior military officers over alleged destabilization plots against Arroyo.
Belmonte is a stalwart of the opposition Liberal Party.
Other rebels granted amnesty in 2011 by former president Aquino were retired Major General Renato Miranda, retired colonel Rafael Galvez, Allan Paje, Jaime Regalario, retired colonel Jake Malajacan, as well as civilian Pepe Araneta Albert.
Senator Gregorio Honasan II
After the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, Honasan led at least 5 coup attempts against then president Corazon Aquino when he was still a colonel in the military. Ramos granted him amnesty in 1992.
In 1994, Ramos also granted amnesty to “rebels, insurgents, and all other persons who have or may have committed crimes against public order… in furtherance of political ends, and violations of the articles of war.” This was meant to facilitate the peace process that his administration initiated with communist, military and Muslim rebel groups.
Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa, Soldiers of the Filipino People, Young Officers’ Union (RAM-SFP-YOU)
Members of RAM-SFP-YOU, rebel groups who participated in the December 1989 coup, were granted amnesty by Ramos in May 1996 under Proclamation No. 723. This was done due to the peace talks at the time and “for the attainment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace under the rule of law and in accordance with constitutional processes.”
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
In 2000, then president Joseph Estrada granted amnesty to members of the MILF who have committed crimes “in pursuit of their political beliefs.” The amnesty was granted through Proclamation Numbers 390 and 405.
Members of communist groups
In 2007, Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1377 which granted amnesty to members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front, New People’s Army and other underground communist rebel groups who applied for amnesty during that period.
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
In February 1977, former president Ferdinand Marcos granted amnesty to members of the MNLF and the Bangsa Moro Army under Presidential Decree No. 1082. This was to entice Muslim rebels to surrender.
Post-WW II: Filipino guerrillas, forces
In 1946, then president Manuel Roxas signed Proclamation No. 8, which granted amnesty to Filipino guerillas and other members of the resistance, particularly those who “pursued activities in opposition to the forces and agents of the Japanese Empire.” The Guerilla Amnesty Commission was established to supervise the process. – Rappler.com