- Press Statements
- Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
- 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.
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:
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.