The Colombian government came out in strong support for a proposed constitutional amendment, known as the “Legal Framework for Peace,” following an alleged FARC bombing in Bogota Tuesday, reported newspaper El Espectador.
The reform to article 122, currently pending in the House of Representatives, would provide legal benefits to demobilized paramilitaries and guerrillas, including allowing them to run for election and stand for political office.
The sixth debate of the required eight was set for Tuesday in Congress, but the bombing targeting former Interior Minister Fernando Londoño prompted some lawmakers to suggest the vote be accelerrated while others wanted it postponed.
Top officials in Juan Manuel Santos’ administration pushed for officials to pass the reform signaling that Colombia’s congress cannot be intimidated.
“We believe it would be a historic mistake to allow Congress to be intimidated and stop legislating (…) if we allow the violence in Colombia to stall the legislature through intimidation tactics, it will be the downfall of democracy,” said Speaker of the House Simon Gaviria.
“I think this is an act that we must reinforce precisely to not give way to terrorists,” echoed Minister of the Interior Federico Renjifo.
Conversely, representative for the Party of the U, Miguel Gomez Martinez said the attempt on Fernando Londono’s life “shows that there are friends of terrorism that want to shut people up(…) I do not think these are the conditions for discussing the framework for peace.”
Representative for the Conservative Party Alfredo Bocanegra added, “The government should stop accelerating the legislation to remind congressmen that today they were going to vote on the Framework for Peace. There are things that are more important for Colombians and that call for prudence.”
The initiative has rendered criticism from NGO Human Rights Watch for allowing “impunity for heinous human rights violations committed by guerrillas, paramilitaries and the military.”
Former President Alvaro Uribe has been one of the main critics of the initiative. “The Legal Framework for Peace makes the heads of the FARC eligible for positions of leadership and corporate positions, an enormous damage to democracy,” he said via Twitter.