Incoming PH President clarifies position on release of political prisoners

  • President-elect Rodrigo Duterte clarifies stand on political prisoners
  • Duterte said he will not release political prisoners ahead of the passage of amnesty law by Congress
  • The incoming President cleared his view after the media allegedly twisted his insights on political prisoners

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte cleared his stand on political prisoners as he stated he will not release them ahead of the passage of amnesty law by Congress.

The clarification was made by the incoming President after media allegedly twisted his statements regarding his views on political prisoners, an article written by Virgil Lopez on GMA News Online stated.

As the incoming President delivered his message at the change of command ceremony at the Davao City Police Office held recently, he slammed a newspaper report which quoted incoming Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III as saying that he will grant freedom to several political prisoners upon his assumption of office on June 30.

“Ang sinabi ko noon I will only agree during the preliminary stage of these Oslo talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines. Kung dito sa Pilipinas I will give the leaders, the Tiamzon spouses, a free conduct pass outside to allow them to take part in the talks,” Duterte was quoted saying.

[I said then that I will only agree during the preliminary stage of these Oslo talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines. If it’s here in the Philippines I will give the leaders…]

Duterte was referring to spouses Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, who are considered peace consultants by the communist group.

In stating this, he added there will be no mass release of the NPA (New People’s Army) under present custody further noting they will only be released if things turn out good as he hinted that if they are ready to surrender the arms and resume their normal role in the society then Congress amnesty might be considered.

Bello said the report stated they will seek the release of those covered by the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees and the elderly and sick.

According to the rights group Karapatan, there are 543 political detainees of which 18 are consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, 88 are ill, and 48 are already in their senior years.

On the other hand, formal peace negotiations between the incoming administration and communist rebels will start in the third week of July in Oslo, Norway. Both sides met for a preliminary meeting on the sidelines of a peace forum last week.

The highlight of the the formal round of negotiations would focus on five points to include the affirmation of previously signed agreements, amnesty proclamation for the release of all political prisoners subject to the concurrence by Congress, and mode of an interim ceasefire.