MALACANANG vowed to defend the constitutionality of the newly-created Truth Commission amid criticisms and threats of lawsuits from the oppositions.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Office of the Solicitor General is already preparing its defense on the legality of Executive Order 1 creating the probe body.
“We believe that the power to create a Truth Commission has been given to the executive under the Administrative Code of 1987,” he stressed.
Several allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo disclosed plans to file petition questioning the validity of the probe body.
Lakas-Kampi spokesman Raul Lambino stressed that the duties of the commission is just a duplication of other investigating bodies of the government such as Ombudsman and Department of Justice (DOJ).
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Albay Representative Edcel Lagman also cited the same argument.
Lagman said he intends to file petition this week, adding that other private groups and individuals are planning to challenge legitimacy of the commission.
Lacierda said they will just let the antagonists execute their plot, noting that it is their right to do so.
“But we believe that the executive branch is well within its power to create the Truth Commission,” he said.
He pointed out that there will be no duplication of work since the function of the commission is merely to ferret out the truth on scandals in Arroyo administration.
“The President opted to form Truth Commission to avoid accusations of being a critic of former President Arroyo that was why he appointed people known for their integrity and capability," he stressed.
"So there is no duplication of work—whatever findings that the Truth Commission will come up will be forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman and they will be the one who prosecute the case,” he reiterated.
While there are anticipations on the impartiality of Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was an appointee of former President Arroyo, Lacierda said the executive trusts the High Court.
“They are the final arbiter and I’m sure that they will be ruling on the case, based on the merits of the executive order, and not because they were appointed by the former President Arroyo,” the Palace spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Malacanang was not offended over the statement of Senator Defensor calling the members of the commission as “amateurs”.
The commission is headed by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide while former associate justice Romeo Callejo will also be part of it.
“Justice Romeo Callejo is an authority in criminal law procedure. He has proven himself in criminal law. I do not think that they are amateurish,” Lacierda pointed out. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)