Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370
0918-912-0137, 415-5455
13 July 2010

There is delay in the issuance of the executive fiat creating the projected “Truth Commission” because there is need to ascertain to what extent can the President create a public office like a commission and the parameters of his authority to fund its operation.

Ordinarily, a public office is created and funded by the Congress, although the President’s control of the Executive Department can be used as basis for establishing “commissions” for a limited period.

Moreover, it is crucial to resolve the issue on duplication of functions between a “Truth Commission” and existing offices like the Department of Justice and judicial or quasi-judicial bodies like the constitutionally-mandated Office of the Ombudsman.

These existing agencies are not bound by the findings and recommendations of a “Truth Commission” because these regular bodies determine the filing of cases as well as assess the admissibility and competence of evidence based on their own independent judgment.

There is also the problem that the proceedings in the “Truth Commission” will be used wittingly for conviction by publicity of possible respondents.

Some quarters have also questioned the choice of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide to head the “Truth Commission”.

0918-912-0137, 415-5455
13 July 2010

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has nothing to prove or disprove as long as she disposes of cases with judiciousness and impartiality as the regularity of her actions is presumed under pertinent laws and jurisprudence.

It there are valid causes of action against the Ombudsman, the concerned persons must file the necessary impeachment complaints or court pleadings.

Conviction by publicity should be avoided.

It should be recalled that the impeachment complaint filed against the Ombudsman last year was dismissed by the House Committee on Justice and the dismissal was upheld by the Plenary.

There is a possibility that virtually the same “causes of action” will be re-filed.

The Ombudsman is a judicial officer who is entitled to sufficient discretion in the adjudication of cases.

She may commit errors of judgment like a judge or justice but is not punishable for honest mistakes.

In the same token, legislators are not accountable for the enactment of a statute subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
0918-912-0137, 415-5455
13 July 2010

Political killings and other human rights violations do not choose a regime as no administration is sacrosanct to criminals.

Consequently, the administration of the day should not be solely faulted for such criminal acts but must be bold enough to immediately create an environment of security to protect possible victims and develop a defensive strategy to discourage and expose would be perpetrators.

The basic problem is that all administrations inherit an existing military-police establishment which has developed a culture of violence and impunity in perpetrating human rights violations and other abuses.

Proof of this is the almost equal record of the Cory Aquino administration and the Marcos regime in the number of involuntary disappearances which, on a time frame basis, the Cory government had relatively more cases because she served for six years while Marcos ruled for 21 years.

It should be recalled that the martial law military bureaucracy survived the People Power revolution.
Mobile No. 0918-9120137
10 July 2010


The postponement of the barangay elections was made a party stand of the LAKAS-KAMPI CMD (LKC) as it endorsed House Bill No. 104 of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman deferring the village polls to October 29, 2012.

Lagman announced that his party’s position was adopted in a caucus on July 7, 2010 in order “to prevent shortly after the national elections further countrywide divisiveness traditionally generated by barangay elections and to allow the realignment of more than P3-B earmarked for the forthcoming October 25, 2010 barangay contests to basic social services and infrastructure development.”

House Bill No. 104 antedates other bills seeking the postponement of the barangay elections.

Late in the 14th Congress, Lagman filed a similar bill but it remained pending with the Committee on Local Governments.

In his explanatory note, Lagman stated that:

(1) The postponement is consistent with previous deferments of the village polls to decrease the frequency of the barangay elections and minimize intense local rivalries and conflicts;

(2) The consensus in previous Congresses as expressed in numerous bills is to fix the terms of barangay officials to five (5) years. Thus, postponement of the October 25, 2010 election to October 29, 2012 would give the incumbent barangay officials, who were elected in 2007, terms of 5 years;

(3) Since barangay officials constitute the pool from which city and municipal officials often come from, there is merit for a longer period of five years to afford barangay officials adequate training and experience in local governance.

Lagman urged that the consideration and approval of a consolidated bill on the postponement of barangay elections should be prioritized for the guidance of the COMELEC and prospective candidates since under R.A. No. 9164 the village polls are scheduled on October 25 this year.

The volume of the current fiscal deficit is manageable according to impartial assessments.

There is no justification for declaring a fiscal crisis which may unduly scare away investors.

Reducing the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) may be sending the wrong signal even as it is a cosmetic solution to the deficit because any savings would be too miniscule to make a dent on the deficit.

President Noynoy Aquino’s statement that the PDAF will be retained “as a concept” is welcome but his colatilla that the “figures would be different” is ambivalent because this could result to a reduction of amounts which is akin to the ill-advised proposal to slash the PDAF.

There is no need to provide a menu for the utilization of the PDAF as intimated by the President because ever since there has been a restricted menu for its availment and implementation.