Even feeble-minded individuals can see the whale of difference between the so-called “Bastes Commission” and “Melo Commission”.
The “Bastes Commission” was basically technical in nature and purely advisory in finality. It was a Malacañang creation to have a group study the significance and effects of the Rapu-Rapu mine tailings. The true intention and objective behind the Commission was readily seen when it submitted its recommendation. This was unceremoniously thrown out the moment it was handed to Malacañang. This Commission can even be considered as having but a civic assignment which is in favor of the environment.
The “Melo Commission” on the other hand is something very different. It is required by Malacañang and expected to do nothing less than investigate the hundreds of extrajudicial killing in the country at least since 2001. It has the power to issue summons and subpoenas even. It has the authority to move for the prosecution of people it finds connected with the gross murders, abductions and tortures of cause oriented persons, farmers, professionals, media practitioners, students among others.
The Commission even recently claimed that there are no “sacred cows”—the President included—in its investigative agenda and prosecutory moves. Needless to say, there were so many “sacred cows” the Bastes Commission found futile to contend with. This is why the “cows” concerned are still well and alive while the Commission has been long dead, discarded and buried deeply and definitively.
Canon law says that clerics—deacons, priests and bishops—are expressly forbidden to assume public office that means sharing in the exercise of civil power (Canon 281 Par. 3 CIC). If this expressed canonical prohibition does not really apply to the members of the “Melo Commission”, the conclusion is rather obvious: this is neither better nor different from the “Bastes Commission” which did something but accomplished nothing.
The Church law concerned is but ecclesiastical in nature. This means that it is not of divine origin. Wherefore, the competent Church authority in Rome that enacted the law can and may make exemptions therefrom for reasonable and just cause. Upon formal petition by the cleric concerned, there is another way of being freed from the said law, viz., the cleric asks for reduction to the lay state of life or he is in effect dismissed from the clerical state.
28 AUGUST 2006