The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today questioned the newly formed Truth Commission’s ability to investigate and prosecute Gloria Arroyo for grievous crimes committed during her rule. Said the CPP, “there are serious doubts on whether the commission will be able to effectively and decisively address the Filipino people’s widespread clamor to punish Arroyo. Built-in legal and judicial loopholes may even serve as Arroyo’s way out.”
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 1 last week forming the Truth Commission which is tasked to investigate the biggest cases of graft and corruption under the previous regime. The report of the Truth Commission will be submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman which will then prosecute the cases afterwards. Its December 31, 2012 deadline is supposed to coincide with the retirement of current Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, a well-known Arroyo loyalist.
“The Truth Commission is a toothless, single-target, slow-moving animal that may ultimately fail to catch up with Gloria Arroyo and her pack of criminal cohorts,” said the CPP. “It does not have real subpoena powers. It cannot prosecute and is limited only to investigating cases. Its two and a half year timetable gives much time for Arroyo to come up with the necessary political, legal and extra-legal countermanuevers to dodge criminal prosecution.”
“In contrast,” said the CPP, “former president Joseph Estrada was sent to jail within three months from the day he was ousted from office in January 2001.”
“Aquino may end up frustrating the Filipino people who have been clamoring for determined and swift prosecution and punishment of the Arroyos not only for a few ‘political impact’ cases but for a whole range of economic, political and fascist crimes committed by Gloria Arroyo and her cohorts,” said the CPP. Aquino has limited the scope of the Truth Commission to a handful of corruption cases.
The CPP pointed out that “the Filipino people have been clamoring for the prosecution and punishment of Gloria Arroyo and her cohorts for massive fraud committed during the 2004 and 2007 elections, widespread extrajudicial killings and other crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the nine and a half years that it was under her command.”
“The hundreds of thousands of victims of fascist military abuses under the Arroyo regime are fast losing hope of ever attaining justice under the Aquino regime,” said the CPP. “The Aquino government seems to be stonewalling efforts to investigate cases of human rights abuses for fear that this will lead to exposing the criminal responsibility not only of Arroyo and her top security and defense officials, but of the entire puppet reactionary state and its military establishment, including those now serving the new regime.”
“The built-in legal and judicial limitations of the Truth Commission buttress suspicions about secret deals entered into by Aquino and Arroyo on the eve of the last elections, where a smooth transition of power was effected in exchange for providing Arroyo a way out of her criminal accountabilities,” the CPP asserted.