Lacson: Why Not Grant Amnesty to Cops, Soldiers in Counter-Insurgency Ops?

If the government can grant amnesty to political prisoners as part of goodwill efforts for peace talks with communist rebels, why not extend this to policemen and soldiers involved in anti-insurgency operations as well?

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson raised this question at a budget hearing Tuesday, where Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the chief government peace negotiator with communist rebels, was in attendance.

“Since there is a program for the grant of amnesty to political prisoners, perhaps we can include policemen and soldiers facing charges on account of participation in counterinsurgency operations,” Lacson said. 

He said it would “not augur well” for peace initiatives if amnesty is granted to only one side. Bello agreed with Lacson’s observation.

The government under President Rodrigo Duterte had revived peace efforts with communist rebels. Peace negotiations are to resume in Norway this October.