Amnesty?

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    ‘The newly-created National Amnesty Commission should welcome the support and
    participation of civil society and churches to attain a genuine level of credibility’

    AS COVID cases spike in several cities in Metro Manila such as Pasay, Marikina, and Quezon City, the Metro Manila Council voted (9 out of 17) to place the metropolis under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). With the delivery of the vaccines facing more delays, MCQC will just lead to more infections and will overwhelm healthcare anew.

    Under the current GCQ physical distancing means nothing to public transport operators and drivers; buses and jeepneys are full, especially during rush hours, with no distance between and among commuters, except for a piece of plastic that serves to separate them and prevent their shoulders brushing against each other.

    Many people anticipate the vaccines to be rolled out in a few weeks and now seem unmindful of the virus which still remains a deadly threat. The return of all public utility vehicles on the road along with the increased 75% capacity in public places will be disastrous.

    Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro calls for stringent health measures to be enforced if Metro Manila is placed under MGCQ. Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon says businesses should only reopen in cities where vaccination has started.

    In other countries, public officials, like Carlito Galvez Jr. who heads the government’s vaccination program, readily resign if they bungle their job. Galvez probably thinks that his public apology over the continued delay of the vaccines is acceptable while the rest of his countrymen are mired in danger and uncertainty.

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    The newly-created National Amnesty Commission should welcome the support and participation of civil society and churches to attain a genuine level of credibility. As it is and out of human compassion, only the sick and aging rebels will likely benefit from the Executive Order No. 125 signed by President Duterte. The coverage will be for crimes committed in the pursuit of political beliefs which would otherwise be quite limiting since countless cases against rebels and their commanders had been filed and pursued as common or heinous crimes.

    Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara should first order a serious review of most cases; a panel of rebel returnees, pastors and priests can help provide objective information on case backgrounds and the real identities of the rebels involved. Notorious rebels had customarily evaded the cases against them by using aliases and fictitious names, forcing the military and the police to file fabricated and unbailable cases. The moral and spiritual issues cannot be entirely ignored by both sides.

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