Gazmin not against amnesty for rebel soldiers

DEFENSE Secretary Voltaire Gazmin is not against granting amnesty to soldiers who were implicated in coup attempts under the Arroyo administration, a spokesman for the defense department said Wednesday.

DND Spokesman Eduardo Batac said the defense chief is leaving it to the discretion of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on whether or not an amnesty should be given to the soldiers.

“What the Defense secretary is saying is that amnesty is a presidential prerogative so what he will object to is after the amnesty, if and when it is granted,” Batac told defense reporters in a press briefing.

The DND spokesman explained that the Defense secretary is not against giving amnesty to rebel military officers and soldiers, but he opposes their reintegration back to the Armed Forces.

“Then he (Gazmin) will advise against the reintegration of these rebel [military officers and soldiers] back to the AFP…. We can understand their grievances and the cause they espouse,” Batac said.

“Just the same, what they did is against regulations and what the secretary is saying is how about those who have stayed – so there will be injustice,”

Senator Vicente Sotto III recently introduced Senate Resolution No. 217 that will granting amnesty to soldiers implicated in the Oakwood mutiny in 2003, in the February 2006 coup attempt and the Manila Penn Siege in 2007. Anthony Vargas


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