December 9, 2010
MANILA, Philippines – A single letter might help solve President Benigno Aquino III’s problem on Executive Order No. 1 creating the Truth Commission.
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the President could simply put an “s” to the phrase “past administration” in EO 1 to widen the coverage of the powers of the commission instead of just focusing on the corruption allegations against the Arroyo administration.
“If it [EO1] will be amended, based on the decision, all they have to do is add “s” to the phrase ‘past administration’ so that it won’t be class legislation,” Escudero said in a text message on Thursday.
“The Supreme Court majority upheld the power of the President to create such a commission,” he pointed out.
Voting 10-5, the high court nullified EO1 Monday, saying it violated the equal protection of the Constitution “because it singles out reports of graft and corruption of the previous administration.”
But Senator Francis “Kiko” Panglinan, in a statement on Thursday, said going after the Arroyo administration did not mean that the present administration was not giving equal protection for ex-President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“It is the crimes that her administration committed that the commission will run after to, not for who she is,” Pangilinan said.
“Equal protection in the constitution is given so a person will not be discriminated against in court given her class, gender, or race,” he said.
Mrs. Arroyo’s equal protection under the law, the senator said, would come when she would be summoned to face the court and answer charges against her.
“And it will be so granted, without argue, despite the crimes she is facing. In the meantime, let us give equal protection to the victims of systemic corruption,” Pangilinan added.
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