Press Release
January 16, 2008

Noynoy on the pardon of Ninoy's assassins

"Sgt. Pablo Martinez, Sgt. Felizardo Taran and the other 12 assassins responsible for the murder of my father were sentenced to two (2) reclusion perpetuas and should be serving a maximum of 40 years for each sentence. Sgt. Taran has just served 29 of the 34 years of his already commuted sentence. The other convicted killers are now declaring certain illnesses to curb the punishment imposed upon them. Have they paid their debt to society to deserve a shortened sentence of not serving the 40 years mandated by the reclusion perpetua terms?"

"The refusal of these people to reveal the truth about the assassination of my father is an obstruction of justice, a crime they continue to commit. They are trying to distort what has been firmly established by various courts from 1990 to the present. Does this denial of information that would help us find closure in my father's killing demonstrate their remorse?"

"My Christian side tells me to act with compassion. However, in examining the tenets taught to me by my church, part and parcel of the sacrament of reconciliation is an admission of sin by the offending party. Those who killed my father should therefore show contrition for their faults by telling the truth and asking for forgiveness."

"It is important to note that others who may be more deserving of the pardon and who have qualified under the rules of the Board of Pardons and Parole are still languishing in jail. They have not been accorded the same treatment as this people who have committed a very heinous public crime. How can this government grant executive clemency to them but not grant the same to a 74-year-old who was imprisoned for stealing coconuts and to the other 122 inmates who are likewise qualified for pardon?"

"This government's act of granting pardon to the murderers of Ninoy Aquino is not an expression of genuine compassion for aged convicts. If it were, the others who are more qualified for pardon should have also been released. It is rather an indication that this administration will use any means necessary to achieve its political ends, even if they undermine the laws that protect our people from criminals who break them. It is an example of how this government allows wrongdoing to go unpunished, much like the way it has been negligent for so long in finding closure on all the serious national issues it confronts. Without the certainty of punishment, we will only ensure the commission of more crimes because their deterrent aspect has been diminished."

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