The wrong case

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the August 18, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

I have an agreement with the houseflies. The flies don’t practice law and I don’t walk on the ceiling. – Groucho Marx

“Gloria Arroyo’s House allies asked the Supreme Court to nullify Pres. Aquino’s executive order creating the Truth Commission.”

“Why, don’t they want to know the truth?”

“That’s not the point. They claim that Pres. Aquino violated the separation of powers between the executive and the legislative branches of government.”

“If that’s their only problem then why don’t they just file a bill creating the Truth Commission using the same language as Aquino’s Executive Order?”

“You’re missing the point. Besides, they found another problem.”

“What?”

“They said the Executive Order violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.”

“Why?”

“Because it targets Gloria Arroyo and cohorts only.”

“What’s wrong with that, whom else do they want the commission to investigate?”

“Everyone. They said, ‘as if corruption is their peculiar species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and present, who may be indictable’.”

“So, in effect, they’re saying that Gloria and her cohorts are not the only thieves around.”

“Well, they also said the Truth Commission duplicates the Ombudsman’s functions.”

“They want the Ombudsman to be the only one to investigate Gloria?”

“Yes.”

“That does not surprise me at all. Anyway, have you read Aquino’s Executive Order and Gloria’s Administrative Order creating the Feliciano Commission?”

“No, have you?”

“Yes, with a little help from the blog of Raissa Robles. She pointed out that ‘Both the Truth Commission and the Feliciano Commission use the Administrative Code as basis for their creation. Their powers and functions are the same’.”

“Show me.”

“Under the powers and functions provisions, Aquino said the Truth Commission shall have ‘all the powers of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987…’ and Arroyo said ‘The (Feliciano) Commission is hereby granted the power of an investigating body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987’.”

“And?”

“And Aquino said, the Truth Commission has the ‘power to invite or subpoena witnesses and take their testimonies and for that purpose, administer oaths or affirmations as the case may be;’ and Arroyo said the Feliciano Commission had ‘the power to summon witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony or evidence relevant to the investigation….’”

“But…”

“Wait, that’s not all. Aquino said, ‘Any government official or personnel who, without lawful excuse, fails to appear upon subpoena issued by the Commission or who, appearing before the Commission refuses to take oath or affirmation, give testimony or produce documents for inspection, when required, shall be subject to administrative disciplinary action. Any private person who does the same may be dealt with in accordance with law’ and Arroyo said, ‘Any person who, without lawful excuse, fails to appear upon summons issued under the authority of the preceding paragraph or who, appearing before the Commission, refuses to take oath, give testimony or produce documents for inspection, when thereunto lawfully required, shall be subject to discipline as in the case of contempt of court upon application of the Commission before the proper court, in the manner provided for by law’.”

“So?”

“So why are Gloria’s House allies okay with the Feliciano Commission but not with the Truth Commission? The two are same-same, buddy.””

“Because two wrongs don’t make a right.”

“True, and that’s why Gloria’s House allies would have looked less hypocritical if they had used plagiarism instead of mumbo-jumbo as grounds for their suit against Aquino’s executive order.”

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