AFP backs amnesty for Muslim rebels under Bangsamoro
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2014 - 6:35pm

MANILA, Philippines - The military on Monday welcomed the proposal to grant amnesty to Muslim rebels once the Bangsamoro political entity is formed and reiterated its support to the peace process.

“That’s within the framework agreement and annexes. If this is part of the agreement that will redound to peace, why not?” Armed Forces spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. said in a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo.

“We have to look at greater good of the peace process. We have to look into it to bring lasting peace in the area,” he added.

Last week, President Aquino revealed that the Bangsamoro law would have an amnesty provision for rebels who fought for an independent Islamic state for decades.

“There will be an amnesty provision in the new Organic Act for the Bangsamoro. But I understand the process has not been proposed. Congress will have to act on it. They will have to concur for it to become law,” the president said.

Aquino said his administration wants to transform the fighters to “productive citizens.”

The Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will form a political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, will have to secure the approval of Congress.

Tutaan said the grant of amnesty would not put in vain the soldiers who died fighting the rebels.

“Because of the supreme sacrifice made by the soldier, the conflict led to just and lasting peace,” he said.

The amnesty, Tutaan said, should be viewed in the context of efforts to attain peace in Mindanao.

The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are expected to sign a final peace agreement this month.

Last week, authorities arrested MILF commander Wahid Tundok by virtue of arrest warrant issued by a local court. Tundok, the leader of the MILF 118th Base Command, was accused of multiple murder and arson.

The MILF commander was not placed in a regular detention facility but was allowed to stay at the Kampilan hotel in the 6th Infantry Division headquarters in Maguindanao.

Three days after the arrest, government negotiators announced that the warrant against Tundok had been recalled and that preparations for his release were underway.

Some security sources are dismayed by Tundok’s release, saying his criminal cases were not related to the MILF’s advocacy. They believe Tundok should face the justice system because he was involved in clan wars that affected several civilians.

Tundok rejoined the MILF last weekend and thanked the military for the “humane treatment” extended to him.


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