Wednesday, July 20, 2005

truth commission

Truth commissions are official Ad Hoc entities commonly established for the investigation and report on the human rights violations. They are constituted in certain countries on the occasion of severe social conflicts that took place therein—such as when many human lives were lost, numerous women and children were violated, much properties were wasted.

As a rule, truth commission are formed by the incumbent governments usually in coordination with international organizations on human rights. Their primary agenda is to hear the complainant victims and the identified violators of their human rights. Their basic objectives are five: to investigate the abuses of previous government authorities; to give recommendations for avoiding future human rights violations; to put closures to the tragedies; to promote national reconciliation; to legitimate new governments.

Now here comes the president announcing the option to put up a “truth commission” to resolve the many and serious issues raised against her integrity and her legitimacy. And there are some very relevant questions that come to mind:

What is the bearing of this peculiar Philippine “truth commission” vis-à-vis the impeachment complaint being readied in congress?

What is the composition of its members? Who chose them and how? What must be their personal and professional qualifications?

What are its concrete tasks? What procedures will it observe? Is there a time table it has to follow?

What is its authority? May it subpoena persons of interest and pertinent official documents? May it call the president herself to appear before it.

What will it do with its findings and conclusions? To what or to whom shall it submit these? What happens to them if any?

When there are big lie tellers, they should be dedicated truth seekers named. When there are marked suspicions, there should be serious investigations made. When people are asking serious questions, there should be credible answers given by persons beyond suspicion.

Can and will the envisioned “truth commission” be able to deliver—and credibly so?

+O. V. Cruz, D.D.
20 July 2005