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THE WEEK AHEAD

MANILA : Anniversary Gesture

June 29, 1993

Everything is forgiven in the Philippines. When President Fidel V. Ramos gives a speech Wednesday to mark his first year in office, he is expected to announce support for an "absolute, general and unconditional" amnesty for an estimated 26,000 Communist rebels, right-wing military mutineers and Muslim secessionists still at large.

Ramos already has freed most former rebels from prison. But two prisoners are subject to a dispute with Washington: men serving life terms for the murder of U.S. Army Col. James Rowe.

Rowe was head of the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group when he was ambushed in his car near Manila in April, 1988. The State Department argues that amnesty for his killers would violate an international convention on the safety of diplomats.

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