VERY few publicly criticize the Truth Commission, which President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III created in an executive order last Friday. Critics risk being labeled contra P-Noy or GMA loyalist.

A truth commission (TC) supposedly uncovers old wrongdoings, resolves conflict from years past, and reaches a “closure.”

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Assessing P-Noy’s TC need not be partisan. A critic may want Gloria shamed at the forum and yet not wish to kiss P-Noy’s ass by cheering all his moves.

Initial flak thrashed the choice of Supreme Court ex-chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. as commission head. If one joined the dissent, there was the added risk of being branded a traitor, Jun being a beloved son of Cebu.

But there’s the more basic flaw. Without power to punish contempt, TC is a “toothless tiger.” With no authority to file charges, TC depends on the same agencies that botched the job in the first place.

Law works better than an E.O., Joker Arroyo suggested. But P-Noy is in a rush for his anti-corruption centerpiece. He wants GMA pinned down on “Hello, Garci” tapes and her husband Mike disrobed on the ZTE deal: stuff for Page 1 and prime-time news.

Results tanked

There have been many truth commissions all over: South Africa, Chile, Guatemala, even Fiji. Check what they accomplished.

Despite high billing and great expectations, most of them tanked, not punishing the crimes and creating impunity to human rights abuses.

But if one just hankers for a figurative flogging of Gloria and Mike, TC might give a jolly good show. And with the “assault” on Arroyo corruption, will poverty flee and vanish? Kill the thought.

(paseares@yahoo.com)