Armed forces chief Gen. Fidel Ramos urged the Aquino government today to grant the same amnesty offered to communist rebels to military personnel who violated human rights during Ferdinand E. Marcos’ 20-year regime.
Ramos told a gathering of Catholic bishops and businessmen in Manila that he welcomed investigations into the alleged torture, summary executions and other abuses by the armed forces to clear its “good name, (which) is almost always being pilloried in the media.”
But in a speech touching on areas of contention between President Corazon Aquino and the military, Ramos urged the government to carry out parallel investigations into rights abuses by the armed forces and communist insurgents.
Double Inquiry Urged
The government should wage “a double investigation of human rights violations,” and “there should also be a double kind of amnesty,” said Ramos, who, with Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, led a military revolt that ousted Marcos and installed Aquino Feb. 25.
Presidential spokesman Rene Saguisag said the proposal for a “double amnesty” covering rebels and soldiers found guilty of civil rights abuses had been “floated” but had not been debated by Aquino’s Cabinet.
The mandate of Aquino’s newly appointed Human Rights Commission currently exempts from investigation rebels of the 16,000-strong New Peoples Army, or NPA, the armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines.
The seven-member commission, headed by human rights lawyer Jose Diokno, has vowed to carry its inquest into thousands of alleged cases of abuses by the Marcos military to the top of its chain of command, and to press for punishment of those found guilty.
In contrast, Diokno has argued that all rebels should be pardoned for atrocities committed since “the bulk of the NPA were rebelling against the government of Mr. Marcos. Why should we punish them?”