Press Release
December 6, 2010

ANC re amnesty hearing
2:00 pm, 6 December 2010

Q: What was the fiasco on amnesty hearing this morning?

DRILON: Well, it was an indication of the lack of preparedness of both the Malacanang and the Armed Forces in facing the Senate panel. First, the proclamation is in order, there is no question about it and the proclamation identified all the defects in the previous proclamation--they were all corrected including the inclusion of the PNP, the effectivity, the process in the DND. The problem came when we got into the discussion on who are eligible on the amnesty. In the first place when we talked about the amnesty on the Oakwood mutineers, it turns out that there were 54 officers and soldiers who had a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to the offense of act unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman punishable under Article 97 of the Articles of War by dismissal. Since they pleaded guilty and they were to be dismissed, it has to go to the Commander in chief, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. When she got the list, which included 1st Lts. Sonny Sarmiento, Audie Tocloy and Von Rio Tayab, she said 'No, they will not be punished even if they pleaded guilty' and yet the rest of the 54 military, meaning 50, they will all be removed from the service. So the first question I asked was 'Are these people covered by the amnesty because they were in active service although they pleaded guilty?' Nobody could answer me. Really what the previous administration did was just to monkey around with the military justice system. The officers admitted that they pleaded guilty to an offense punishable by dismissal and yet Malacanang said 'You will not be removed' as long as you testify against Sen. Trillanes. It came out during the hearing. But the other one was the fact that in the listing of those who were involved in the standoff among the Marines--involved there were Major Gen. Renato Miranda--in the list that they said are eligible for amnesty, they included Sen. Greg Honasan, Pastor Boy Saycon, former Ambassador Roy Seneres, businessman Don Pepe Araneta and a few others--about 12 or so civilians plus 4 or 5 CPP NPA NDF. So we were flabbergasted. We said 'Can they also avail of the amnesty?' It turns out that they just submitted to the Senate the raw listing of those who were charged before the DoJ. They did not even check whether or not these cases are still pending. That's why Sen. TG Guingona was so flabbergasted that he just said 'I will suspend this hearing and explain to us all of this apparent inconsistencies and inaccurate information'. So this is what happened.

Q: Okay but Executive Secretary Ochoa was there and did he give you any assurance as to how soon they can clear this matter up?

DRILON: After the hearing he said in 24 hours they can clear that. So another hearing is set tomorrow.

Q: You said Malacanang clearly appears to be unprepared to implement this amnesty proclamation? Do you think it's just a matter of learning curve that has yet to be hurdled?

DRILON: There is clearly very poor staffwork. That's because they didn't examine the list they submitted to us; they didn't examine whether or not the cases are still pending. Very poor staffwork and it was shown during the hearing that even the Armed Forces was not certain about the list that they submitted to us as to who are eligible for this amnesty.

Q: Assuming that the list can be cleaned up tomorrow, does that mean that the Senate can also approve it by tomorrow?

DRILON: Well I cannot speak for the Senate but I can certainly vote for it once they cleared this matter up. My assessment is that many senators would vote for it but I cannot speak for the Senate.

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