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HomeDNX EXPLAINER: A brief background about the Truth Commission

DNX EXPLAINER: A brief background about the Truth Commission

Bacolod City Mayor-Elect Albee Benitez had recently announced that he had created a Truth Commission that would “dig deep” into all transactions under the Leonardia administration.

The Commission, he had said earlier would investigate, audit, and assess all the transactions that took place under the outgoing administration.

The setting up of a commission might be a historic first in Bacolod City but have there been others like it?

What were the truth commissions set up in the past?

The first commission set up in history was in 1983 was when the first one was established in Argentina that was named National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons after Argentinian President Raúl Alfonsín was inaugurated.

It was mandated to investigate on the cases of missing persons and to examine the human rights violations that happened during the military dictatorship known as the ‘Dirty War’ from 1976 to 1983.

The Commission went on to collect 50,000 pages of depositions published as ‘Nunca Más: The Report of the National Comments of the Disappeared’ which was chaired by writer Ernest Sabato in 1986 that reported in great detail what happened to the missing victims of the military junta, to share the stories of the survivors, and to shed light to the bereaved families who are in need of closure.

The report of the Commission was able to identify 300 detention centers, mass burial grounds, and punishment methods for supporting Persons with Disabilities (PWD) groups. It was discovered that 30 percent of the victims were women.

The success of Argentina’s Truth Commission lighted a fire towards discovering the truth and granting justice towards those who have been silenced by the oppressors which resonated around the globe in countries that have suffered injustices brought by corruption, violence, and greed.

PNOY’S TRUTH COMMISSION

July 26, 2010 was when the late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino announced in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he would sign an Executive Order (EO) creating the Philippine Truth Commission to be headed by former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. to investigate on the alleged corruption that happened during the previous Arroyo administration.

However, the Commission was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because it violates the equal protection clause of the constitution.

The Supreme Court stressed that only the Arroyo Administration was given focus, not the previous administrations which may be used for “selective retribution”.

UNDERSTANDING THE TRUTH COMMISSION

The Truth Commission is often established when there is a change in power in a country (such as the transition of the military dictatorship to the Alfonsín administration of Argentina), and seeks to investigate on the possible human rights violation during a certain period as it seeks to empower survivors, to encourage change, and to determine facts.

Procedural Fairness is respected by those who are a part of the Commission, and even those who are found to be liable for the violations in which they are granted with legal representation.

IS THE COMMISSION THE RIGHT MOVE FOR ALBEE?

With June 30 fast approaching around the corner, Albee Benitez would soon take the most powerful position in the City of Bacolod, and the Truth Commission would soon be enforced.

Benitez has still yet to announce the possible persons who would take part in this historic commission for the City to finally dig deep on what really happened during Bing’s rule.

Lyssa Raquinel
Lyssa Raquinel
DNX trainee reporter.
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