Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370
  • Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
  • 0918-9120137/0916-6406737
  • 12 September 2010

 

           Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda is blinded by an obstinate desire for propaganda when he said that those who have committed no wrong should not be afraid of the Truth Commission.

           Lacierda refuses to understand that the challenge against the commission is not because of fear but is motivated by the duty to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

           Neither is the commission being questioned to block the investigation and prosecution of officials of the Arroyo administration who can be brought before existing investigatory and prosecutorial agencies like the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman without inventing the Truth Commission.

           Whether the commission is a toothless tiger for want of subpoena and coercive powers or a ferocious lion for having been granted quasi-judicial authority, it must be struck down for being a constitutional aberration.

           The following are the constitutional infirmities of Executive Order No. 1 which created the Truth Commission:

  1. It violates the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislative for arrogating the exclusive powers of the Congress to create a public office and fund its operation.

The only power granted to the President under the Administrative Code of 1987 is to reorganize the Office of the President in order to achieve simplicity, efficiency and economy, but not to create a new office which was hitherto inexistent like the Truth Commission.

 2. It violates the equal protection clause enshrined in the Constitution because it selectively targets reportedly errant officials of the Arroyo administration but exempts those of other regimes from the jurisdiction of the commission.

 Equal protection demands that those similarly situated, like all alleged perpetrators of graft, must be exposed to the same rigors and perils irrespective of personalities and eras.

 3. It supplants the quasi-judicial powers of the Office of the Ombudsman which was created under the 1987 Constitution and strengthened by the Ombudsman Act of 1989.

 Executive Order No. 1 can neither amend the Constitution nor a statute.

While the minority bloc in the House of Representatives has undertaken to cooperate with the Aquino administration, it cannot lend cooperation to a partisan enterprise which desecrates the Constitution.

  • Rep. Edcel C. Lagman
  • Tel No. 4155455
  • Mobile No. 0918-9120137
  • 08 September 2010

          

          The Department of Interior and Local Government is headed by a “political eunuch” after Sec. Jesse Robredo has been castrated gradually and deliberately by President Benigno Aquino III on several occasions.

           First, President Aquino stripped Robredo of his statutory power of supervision over the Philippine National Police by designating DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno as solely responsible over “police matters”.

           Under RA No. 6975, entitled “An Act Establishing the Philippine National Police Under a Reorganized Department of the Interior and Local Government”, the PNP is under the DILG while its Secretary is the “Chairman and Presiding Officer of the National Police Commission.”

           Second, Robredo’s nomination was not submitted by President Aquino to the Commission on Appointments on the pretext that his appointment is only in an acting capacity.

It will be recalled, however, that when President Aquino announced Robredo’s appointment it was not subject to an “acting capacity”.

           Third, President Aquino said that Robredo’s appointment is undergoing further evaluation and he is under probation because he and Robredo have differences in “work style” which surfaced during the last presidential campaign.

           The President’s emerging ambivalence on Robredo is contrary to his prior accolade that he is “very qualified to handle so many portfolios”.

           The doubt on Robredo’s qualifications is an aftermath of the fatal hostage-taking fiasco that has triggered persistent calls for Robredo to either voluntarily resign or be ousted from the Cabinet.

           If Robredo has any self-esteem left, he should resign with alacrity and save himself from further embarrassment and the DILG from a damaged leadership.