House nod of amnesty welcomed

FORMER military officers jailed for rebelling against the Arroyo administration yesterday lauded the House justice panel committee for approving the President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s amnesty proclamations.

But, former Marine Col. Ariel Querubin said that it’s not yet time for them to rejoice since the battle has not been totally won.

“We’re happy, but will rejoice later when majority of the members of Congress have concurred with it,” Querubin said in a text message.

Querubin, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ‘79, was among the group of officers who staged a standoff at the Marine headquarters in Fort Bonifacio in February 2006.

The spokesman for the Magdalo group expressed optimism that the Senate will follow the move of the House of Representatives.

“We look forward hopefully to the plenary where, hopefully, the majority will give their concurrence,” former Air Force Capt. Ashley Acedillo said in a text message.

Acedillo added, “together with the Senate’s concurrence, if they choose to do so, we might finally have the implementation of President Aquino’s grant of amnesty.”

Among those who could benefit from the amnesty proclamation is Sen. Antonio Trillanes III, who remains in detention for his involvement in the Oakwood Mutiny on 2003 and Manila Pen siege in 2007.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier said it is looking forward for Congress to approve the amnesty being granted by the commander in chief to all military officers and personnel that rebelled against the previous administration.

The approval of amnesty grant by the Congress could pave the way for the return to military service of nearly 300 enlisted military personnel that have joined the uprisings against the Arroyo administration in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

The AFP said that out of the 283 military personnel that took part or were involved in the Oakwood Mutiny on July 27, 2003, 183 were enlisted personnel.

About 181 of these 183 enlisted personnel have already been meted with punishment of demotion of rank after entering a plea bargain agreement in 2005.

Also, 40 of the 78 military personnel who were involved in the Marine stand-off in February 2006 were enlisted personnel.

Thirty-one of those were discharged and nine were admonished.  Anthony Vargas

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