Up to now, more than 6 months after being sworn into office, the Noynoy Aquino government still has not filed a single case against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Recently, the Aquino government has announced that it is drafting another EO to revive the Truth Commission, which was earlier declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This failed project illustrates the Aquino “lightweight” government’s lack of basic legal and political know-how, and more importantly, raises questions about it’s sincerity in prosecuting the past administration.
It should be noted that former president Joseph Estrada, ousted in 2001 was jailed only three months into Arroyo’s term. Aquino, who boasts of a popular mandate and wide public trust, consistently assails the past government in speeches and media statements, blaming the former president for troubles the country is now facing. However, Aquino government seems to be dragging its feet in filing actual cases, a sign that it may have already sealed a political settlement or compromise with the Arroyos.
The Truth Commission, the main mechanism government formed to make the past government accountable, has in fact effectively delayed the filing of charges against Arroyo. The Commission wasted three months before formally opening, just to hold a press conference, put up a Twitter account and issue an announcement that the public can now report truths about the past administration.
Going through the whole process of fact finding and unearthing the “truth” about the past administration all over again is ridiculous. There have already been several impeachment complaints and dozens of detailed testimonies and evidences compiled during hearings in Senate, Congress. There was even a People’s Tribunal formed then to “prosecute” Arroyo several years back which documented in detail the crimes of the past administration.
The truth about Arroyo’s crimes is already clear to everybody. There is more than enough basis and evidence to jail Arroyo for so many crimes. What the government needs to do is to stop delaying and dribbling. It should file charges immediately. This, unfortunately, is something it did not and does not intend to do — the Commission, announced then that it will file its recommendations by December 2012.
It is interesting also to note that Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, an Arroyo appointee and ally, was the one appointed to head the commission. And that the gov’t, contrary to its earlier promise, has also set the stage for whitewash by limiting the scope of investigations to corruption cases and not including human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.
The Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional the Truth Commission has now become a convenient excuse for the government not to file charges and further delay the jailing of Arroyo. The more intelligent among the public has refused to be decieved by this palusot and has pointed out that the government can prosecute even without the Truth Commission. Ika nga, kung gusto may paraan.
We have to remind ourselves of lessons of history. The Marcos’ stolen wealth still has to be recovered, as they have made their way back to national political positions. Former president Estrada, after plundering the nation’s coffers, has been set free. A repeat of history — one of treachery and conspiracy among the ruling elite against the Filipino people –is now set under the haciendero republic of Aquino.
We need to be more vigilant and active in the continuing fight for truth, accountability and good governance. The Filipino people must see through the empty rhetorics and posturing of the current Aquino administration and must call for concrete steps to make Arroyo accountable.