The President’s Executive Order No. 1 creating the Truth Commission has drawn flak not only from the opposition but from sectors who presumably know their law.
The order is like Swiss cheese—it is full of holes. I cannot believe it was crafted by lawyers who know their law. It says that it can subpoena people to testify and if the witnesses are government officials, they can be charged administratively. If the person is private, can he then be cited for contempt if he chooses not to appear? I believe that since the Truth Commission is not a quasi-judicial creature, it cannot subpoena nor cite people for contempt.
Secondly, isn’t the Truth Commission duplicating the mandate of the Justice Department and the Ombudsman? I’ve always considered this creature of a commission a redundancy and an exercise in futility. We have had so many commissions before, but what have they achieved except to dribble the ball and entertain people over television?
My gulay, there’s also the constitutional provision of equal protection under the law. Since the order says nothing about when it should begin (although the order states the commission would end by 2012), it should cover every administration, not only the Arroyo administration.
Those against the Truth Commission should accept the challenge of President Aquino to bring the legality and constitutionality of the executive order that created it to the Supreme Court.
Another problem of the Truth Commission headed by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide is its credibility. The former Chief Justice has been the subject of impeachment and has failed to cite those who walked out during the impeachment case of former President Joseph Estrada for contempt. And, Santa Banana, having gone to Edsa to install President Arroyo and ruling that Erap “constructively resigned,” can Davide be believed?
Recall that Davide, when he was named ambassador to the United Nations, went to New York and occupied the post even without being confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. And he later resigned and became a member of the Liberal Party because his son was running for governor of Cebu.
I can believe in Davide—if he can investigate Lucio Tan, who is said to have lobbied with Estrada for Davide’s appointment as Supreme Court Chief Justice.