Message of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, to all Filipinos still engaged in guerrilla activities to take advantage of the General Amnesty Proclamation December 15, 1943.

TO MY BELOVED COUNTRYMEN:

It is now two months that we have been blessed with the ineffable boon of independence and liberty. Like manna from heaven, it has come to appease our craving hunger for freedom, giving new life to our people as a nation, redressing grievances that rankled in our breasts through centuries of suppression, vindicating our undeniable right to live in and rule over these isles, and consecrating the dearest ideals and aspirations of our heroes and martyrs. At last we have made peace with the spirit of our ancestors, the spirit which has flogged us on to achieve our goal, demanding the consummation of a dream that had haunted and troubled even their immortal sleep and given them no peace in eternity.

Now we should be at peace with our conscience, for we have proved ourselves true to our own selves and to our native soul. But are we at peace? Are we at peace with one another, are we at peace to live and prosper, to work and progress, to love and labor as we ought to?

The tragedy is that we are not. In our midst there are many who misunderstand us, many who disdain their brothers, many who are stragglers that break our massive ranks as we march forward to our destiny. In the hinterlands of our country, in the deep recesses of our woodlands, many are there who walk forlorn in the shadow of a fatal delusion, many who stumble in the dark of ignorance and fear—men and women who refuse to see or are afraid of the light that illumines our people, who refuse or are afraid to come out in the open to claim the place that we anxiously keep for them in our midst.

Many is the time that we have beckoned them, assuring them that no harm would come to them. Many is the time that we have beseeched them to forsake their unwarranted refuge, for we do not consider them refugees from society or fugitives from law and order. Many is the time that we have offered them the same security that we enjoy under this regime of peace, justice and liberty, guaranteeing them immunity from the persecution that they imagine and immunity from the want and misery that they must be experiencing.

While many have responded and are now partaking of the blessings of a life of peace and progress despite the recent blight of war, we cannot have rest or peace in our cities and towns—nor in our minds and hearts—until all of our brethern that have left their accustomed homes, return to the fold, there to resume their communion with their countrymen and help in the perfection of our unity for the sake of our independence and all that it holds for us now and hereafter.

But our faith in these our countrymen who have not yet responded still remains unshaken. We have no quarrel with them. Fundamentally, we have one common cause. We have been separated from one another because we all love our freedom more than anything else. They want to keep that freedom in the way they believe is honorable and patriotic. And so do we. But it is clear now beyond argument that this freedom is here within the pale of law and order, where it is real, tangible and fruitful, and not where they think it is, for it is only the ghost of liberty and freedom that walks with them in their solitary exile.

Because of this faith, and because I feel myself one with our people in their deep anxiety and brooding concern for our countrymen who are estranged from us, I have issued a proclamation granting amnesty and pardon to all citizens of the Philippines who have committed crimes and offenses of a political nature. Again, I earnestly invite all those who could benefit by this proclamation to come forward and stretch our hand in a firm handclasp of reconciliation. I invite them to have the same faith in us that we have in them, so that, fused into one, our faith may triumph over all personal differences or political creeds, over romorse and recrimination, over all the bitter memories of the past and the hardships of the present.

I appeal to all my countrymen all over the land to help bring them back to be conferred with the title that we now proudly hold high, that of free citizens of the independent Philippines. I appeal to all mothers, fathers, children, wives, husbands, sweethearts, brothers and friends of these last remaining dissenters to use their reason, their influence, their love and their patriotism—unsparingly—to persuade them to take full advantage of this offer within the prescribed period. s For the guidance and benefit of all concerned, the text of my proclamation is given l in full hereunder:

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
MANILA

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

PROCLAMATION NO. 2

GRANTING A GENERAL AMNESTY AND PARDON TO ALL CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES WHO HAVE COMITTED CRIMES AND OFFENSES OF POLITICAL NATURE.

Whereas, prior to the inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines, crimes and offenses political in nature, such as sedition, illicit associations, engaging in guerrilla activities or aiding and abetting those so engaged, and spreading false rumors with respect to the Greater East Asia War, had been committed in the Philippines; and

Whereas, it is deemed wise and humane and conducive to the establishment of peace and order in the country, and would inspire loyalty among them, that the citizens responsible for such crimes and offenses, who have not yet suffered punishment therefor, shall not be subjected to prosecution, or if already finally convicted by the civil courts, shall be relieved from punishment, through a general amnesty and pardon;

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby proclaim and declare, without reservation or condition except as hereinafter provided, a general amnesty to all citizens of the Philippines responsible for the crimes and offenses of sedition, illicit association, engaging in guerrilla activities or aiding and abetting those so engaged, or spreading false rumors and for all crimes and offenses political in nature, committed against the laws of the Philippines prior to the promulgation of this Proclamation, and a full and complete pardon to all those citizens finally convicted by the civil courts and now undergoing punishment for crimes and offenses of the same category.

The benefits of the present Amnesty may be availed of within a period of sixty days after its promulgation which is hereby set for the 25th day of November,nineteen hundred and forty-three, except in the cities, municipalities and municipal districts of the Visayas, Mindanao and Sulu where this Proclamation shall be deemed promulgated as of the date copies hereof are actually received by the respective mayors of the aforesaid cities, municipalities, and municipal districts.

Every person who shall seek to avail himself of the benefits of this Proclamation shall take and subscribe to the following oath in triplicate before any officer authorized to administer oaths, which shall be exempt from the documentary stamp tax as well as from any and all legal fees whatsoever:

“I,………………………………………………..do hereby solemnly swear (or affirm) that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the Republic of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and will obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that I will conduct myself at all times as a law-abiding citizen of the Philippines; and that I impose this obligation upon my self voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.” (In case of affirmation, the last sentence will be omitted.)

It shall be the duty of the officer administering the foregoing oath to keep one copy thereof for his record, furnish another copy to the affiant and forward the original copy as soon as practicable to the Governor of the province or Mayor of the city, municipality or municipal district where the oath was administered, for the purpose of registration.

Given under my hand in the City of Manila, this 14th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and forty-three, and of the Republic of the Philippines, the first.

(Sgd.) JOSE P. LAUREL
President of the Republic
of the Philippines

By the President:
(Sgd.) JOSE GIL
Acting Executive Secretary

May this period of grace I have set see many happy reunions among families and loved ones throughout the Philippines and may such reunions result in the imperishable union of the Filipino people in the bonds of peace, happiness, progress and prosperity!

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library