SANGLEY POINT, Cavite, Philippines – Despite questions before the Supreme Court (SC) regarding its legality, the five-member Truth Commission will begin its investigation soon after its head, former chief justice Hilario Davide, takes his oath next week.
“I think by Monday they will have their oath-taking, so right after that (their work will start),” President Aquino told Palace reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Navy’s demonstration of its “anti-seajacking” capabilities.
It took Malacañang more than two months to fill up the panel tasked to investigate irregularities during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now a Pampanga congresswoman.
The appointment of Ateneo law professor Menardo Guevarra has completed the composition of the panel, which includes – aside from Davide – retired SC justices Flerida Ruth Romero and Romeo Callejo and Ateneo human rights professor Carlos Medina.
Davide, who was also an appointee of Mr. Aquino’s late mother Corazon to the Commission on Elections in the late ‘80s, said they would be drafting guidelines on how to go about its investigation of alleged corruption during the Arroyo administration.
Romero was also an appointee of the late president to the SC.
Guevarra, 53, was among those who helped craft the 1987 Constitution. He is a senior partner at the De Borja Medialdea Bello Guevarra law firm.
Meanwhile, Mr. Aquino said SC petitions against his executive orders are expected and should not distract his administration from its tasks of ensuring good governance and eliminating corruption.
The creation of the Truth Commission is contained in Executive Order 1. EO 2, on the other hand, removes the midnight appointees of Mrs. Arroyo.
“We are trying to further the common good by effecting changes in governance,” Mr. Aquino told reporters.
“We are expecting those challenges. So we would confront the problem that has been exacerbated by the midnight appointments and there will really be challenge,” Mr. Aquino stressed.
The President also defended his legal team from accusations they appeared “amateurish.”
“Nobody is perfect. We are confronted with a problem. How do you govern with people who do not follow the agenda, who would try to stop you each and every step of the way?”
He declined to comment on petitions against his EOs, citing the sub judice principle.
Delon Porcalla, Philippine Star