PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has signed his first executive order, forming the Truth Commission that will probe and put closure to unresolved controversial issues that rocked the Arroyo administration. Government officials who fail to appear upon subpoena, or refuse to give testimony shall be subject to administrative action.

The truth commission will investigate allegations of anomalies during the last nine years when former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ruled, from 2001 to June 2010. "The process of bringing necessary closure to all allegations of official wrongdoing and impunity has begun," declares P-Noy.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

For the past days, the Aquino administration has promised to shock the nation with details on the malfeasance of the previous administration. Now that the public has confirmed the extent of wrongdoing of the previous national officials, it awaits for real action from the present administration.

In fact, it is an expectation.

For the present administration to not only probe but also to ensure that proper restitution has taken place. Let the concerned officials be responsible for their decisions and actions-prosecute those who are responsible and left no tables unturned in the search for truth, peace and justice.

Will the truth commission go beyond providing the facts and ensure the prosecution of those involved? It may be too early to tell.

According to the executive order, the Truth Commission "shall primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by the public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration."

The commission will recommend the "appropriate action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear or favor."

The Truth Commission, to be headed by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., would have four others members. Its hearings or the proceedings will be made open to the public and has until December 31, 2012, to complete its mission.

It's a tall order in a culture where impunity exists and where perpetrators are able to lie without blinking an eye. Where silence is seen as a virtue and where people do not dare to be concerned or to involve themselves until the day when the matter affects them personally.

It may take more than an executive order for the nation to move on again, just the same as it takes more than a wish washy probe to ensure that real issues are addressed. People are afraid of the truth, and sometimes, it may be easier to address the symptoms rather than the cause.

Some experts say the truth commission will be toothless unless it is enacted by Congress. Yet, every one of us knows that there is no assurance of truth unless public officials are made accountable for their actions.

Democracy will never be served on a silver platter. It has to be fought hard by a conscientious public who knows what is due them and who are able to assert their role in governance.

This is the same for any organization that is caught in a crisis. Either it learns from experience and be humble enough to recognize its mistakes or run from the reality that it has created.

Everyone is responsible. By choosing silence when officials plunder and decisions are made for their own vested interest and by refusing to make clear action, we collectively allow those who are in power to compromise the lives of the majority. Email comments to roledan@gmail.com