Press Release
December 14, 2010

Senate adopts House's resolution granting amnesty to rebel soldiers

The Senate today adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 8, granting amnesty to rebel soldiers against the Arroyo Administration.

Voting 13-0 with two abstentions, the chamber adopted the resolution, paving the way for the granting of amnesty to the officers and men who mounted the 2003 "Oakwood" munity, participated in the 2006 Marine standoff, and the 2007 Peninsula Hotel siege, including Sen. Antonio Trillanes VI.

Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan II, who earlier questioned the inclusion of his name in the list of officers to be granted amnesty, abstained from voting, garnering laughs when he said that "he might be a beneficiary of the proclamation."

Honasan played a key role in the 1986 EDSA Revolution that toppled the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos. He led a series of coup attempts against the administration of Corazon Aquino.

Asked to comment, Sen. Teofisto "TG" Guingona said that "the resolution of the House of Representatives is the same (as the Senate's) except that the House had some recommendations for inclusion in the implementing rules and regulations of the proclamation."

"We can expedite the resolution so that the executive branch can start processing the applications for amnesty. I recommend that we adopt the concurring resolution as submitted by the House of Representatives to the Senate," Guingona further told his colleagues at the Floor.

The House recommended that no candidate for amnesty shall be given due course without him admitting his guilt or criminal culpability in any or all of the incidents in writing, as expressed in his application. The House also added a provision, saying that the decision of granting amnesty shall not be executed pending appeal.

The senators, for their part, agreed that the amendments introduced by the House will only be recommendatory in nature.

"It is clear that the power of Congress is just to concur or to dissent from the amnesty proclamation of the President. It is very clear that the President dictates the underlying principles, terms and conditions of the amnesty proclamation," Guingona stressed, adding, "Congress has no power to amend or to add conditions to the proclamation. That is very clear from the constitutional provisions. We can merely concur or disagree."

Whether the recommendations will be followed by the President is his sole prerogative, Guingona concluded.

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