Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide has committed to be impartial in the Truth Commission's investigation on corruption scandals during the administration of former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
On Friday, Davide fended off allegations he was indebted to Arroyo, and said there will be no special favors accorded to her in the conduct of the truth body's upcoming probe.
"I cannot see any political consideration here. When it comes to public service, you don’t really demand much of yourself. It’s how you view public service. It’s a public trust and therefore, it is a rare and golden opportunity for one to be given that opportunity to serve the country," Davide told reporters after the commission's first press briefing.
"My loyalty would always be to the institution, to the people of our country, it is not to the appointing authority," he added.
When he was still chief justice, Davide presided over the Senate's impeachment trial of then President Joseph Estrada.
In January 2001, anti-Estrada sentiments culminated in a massive street uprising, forcing him to step down and then Vice-President Arroyo to assume the presidency.
It was Davide who swore in Arroyo as the 14th President when Estrada left his post. When Arroyo won as president in the 2004 elections, she took her oath of office before Davide again.
Davide retired as chief justice in December 2005. A month later, Arroyo appointed him as Senior Presidential Adviser on Electoral Reform.
In February 2010, Arroyo named him as Permanent Philippine ambassador to the United Nations.
However, Davide left his post in April 2010 after he aligned himself with then presidential contender Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who went on to win the presidency.
When Aquino won as president, he created the truth body and appointed Davide as its chairman.
Estrada later contested Davide's appointment, saying he doubts Davide would pin down Arroyo because the retired chief justice is indebted to her.
However, Davide on Friday denied this and said his track record as former Commission and Elections chairman, former Supreme Court chief justice and former UN ambassador should speak of his impartiality.