When The Truth Is Just But A Waste of Time

Senator Rodolfo Biazon is not a lawyer by training or by occupation yet he sees something what men of laws does not see, or haven’t notice just as yet. Biazon referred to the mapping out of a “Truth Commission” as direly unconstitutional and he was the first public figure to have mentioned that, at least in my case.

On the outset, nothing really in the formation of a “Truth Commission” that run directly counter against the precepts of our Constitution. Nothing in there would prohibit it straightforwardly for nothing in our fundamental laws that declares, “The State shall not cause any Truth Commission to exist…blah…blah…blah…”. Commissions are everywhere in our land. Commission on this, commission on that. We seem to have a commission for everything found above water; and even under it.

Let us remember however that the envisioned “Truth Commission” is not just any other commission like say the one on good government (PCGG) and on horseracing (PHILRACOM). It is a sensitive body with only one predecessor in recent memory and would act not like a commission at all, but more like a court of law, and this is where the problem lies, as it becomes a patent redundancy to our judicial systems. Why the hell did we have courts of law in the first place?

The “Truth Commission” would be a fact-finding outfit just like the Agrava Commission back in Marcos years, and similarly, it would take on a very high profile and extreme visibility. It will have the sine qua non power of summons and orders, the examination of testimonies and the production of evidences. This is why it becomes a freak of administrative fiat where a platypus is created, where it looks like a combination of many things, a non-judicial body having foremost judicial powers. Well, we all know that other administrative agencies like the LTFRB already has quasi-judicial functions yet I have a feeling that the “Truth Commission” would be demanding more than just petty judicial muscles because in order for it to be effective as it is visualized, it must have more teeth than what is necessary. Everything except the power to convict and imprison.

This is where my problem with this commission comes in. In the end, all it can give us would be some lame endorsements for prosecution because no matter how it finds the “truth” or the “untruth”, it won’t convict anyone and being a GMA creation, what makes us believe that nobody is telephoning somebody again in the dead of the night, telling somebody else to make some “small” favors. Aren’t we just fooling ourselves?

And mainly, the “Truth Commission” would be such a redundancy to our crime-solving bodies, especially to our courts of law, that it becomes entirely violative of the “due process clause” of our Constitution. For the commission to yield the complete truth, then it must have the presence of former COMELEC Commissioner Garcilliano before it, including his admission or non-admission, otherwise the truth is not complete. If you were Garcilliano, would you appear in it knowing your rights and liberty may be jeopardized without the due process of law? In this sense, the formation of the “Truth Commssion” would be gravely UNCONSTITUTIONAL, patently in contravention of the due process requirements of our Constitution where it is inculcated in it like gravestones that “no life, liberty or property may be taken by the State without the due process of law” and the “Truth Commission” does not partake of due process and due notice. Due process demands other legal modes like warrants of arrest, search warrants, right to counsel and right to remain silent, the right of confrontation, the production of testimonies and evidences, the presumption of innocence, of custodial investigation and such other like matters as embodied in the Bill of Rights.

In the end, the “Truth Commission” would just be a grand wastage of public money, a grand spectacle and a carnival full of clowns. We the public will not benefit from it except the “entertainment” that we could possible get from it. Oh yes, we Filipino love this kind of real-time, real-life soap operas.

We might as well bat for and support the institution of an impeachment proceeding against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, where despite the odds in numbers of Senators in her favor, there always remain a chance, when she would be found almost guilty of election rigging, that we will get the result we wanted. We need results. And a “Truth Commission” would never give us the result that we desire if finally the “truth” or “untruth” is brought into the great wide open.
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