Binay: Truth body's objective valid despite SC voiding

December 9, 2010 4:12 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Dec. 8 — The Supreme Court’s decision to declare the Malacanang-created Truth Commission as unconstitutional should be respected by government officials, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said on Wednesday, while stressing his personal belief that “the objective of the Commission remains valid.”

Early on his administration, President Benigno Aquino III approved Executive Order No. 1, which was to investigate alleged wrongdoings of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, including the eventually-scrapped so-called NBN-ZTE deal with a foreign government.

Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Hilario Davide Jr., was appointed to head the body.

On Tuesday this week, the country’s Highest Tribunal voted 10-5 to declare E.O. 1 "null and void," saying that it violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

The SC specifically meant that then President and now-Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her administration were being singled out for alleged offenses. Some legislators have opined that any so-called truth body should also investigate alleged crimes of previous presidencies.

Over radio DZRH Wednesday morning, Binay, an ally of the incumbent President, said that it is his view both as a lawyer and a government official, that “we are duty bound to respect the decision of the Supreme Court, even if we may disagree with it.” He did not specify which government officials.

Binay said he himself would defer to the ruling of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Truth Commission but stressed that the objective of the commission remains valid. He did not elaborate.

But the Vice President said he is optimistic that, despite the ruling, the Aquino administration can still push its anti-corruption campaign.

A human rights lawyer, Binay said there are other avenues for redress against corruption, with government agencies such as the Sandiganbayan helping to ensure that public officials committing anomalies could be brought to justice. (PNA)

DCT/GJB

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