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Truth and Justice

"Are we not re-opening old wounds?"

This was then first-termer Congressman Noynoy's question on the issue of finding the real mastermind of Ninoy's assassination together with bringing to justice all those responsible for human rights abuses and corruption during the Marcos Dictatorship in one congressional hearing I attended as a resource person way back in 1998.

But P-Noy now is much different. By his planned creation of a Truth Commission, he has gone beyond the personal to the higher PUBLIC TRUST nature of his office as president. While this commission is initially directed at the corruption scandals of the GMA administration, it should go farther back into the Marcos regime. Indeed, P-Noy himself has vowed to oppose the "revisionism" that is now gaining ground, especially with the pusoy return of the Marcoses. Imelda as Congresswoman of Ilocos Norte, Bong Bong as Senator, and Imee as Governor of Ilocos Norte.

Who knows in 2016, it could be Bong Bong or Imee succeeding P-Noy? That is, if GMA is quickly reined in given her unabashed desire to return to power via a constitutional convention.

As P-Noy crafts the final details of his planned Truth Commission, he may wish to consider recent events in Argentina. In particular, he may review its infamous Dirty War that resulted in about 30,000 deaths during the dictatorship from 1976-1983 led by then junta leader Jorge Rafael Videla.

Videla had been previously sentenced to life in prison for torture, murder and other crimes in 1985. Now, he will be undergoing still another trial for murder charges in the deaths of 31 political prisoners who were pulled from their jail cells shortly after his 1976 military coup and, according to the official story, shot while trying to escape. (AP)

As a practical matter though, the Truth Commission should have tested litigators as its members. So, too, it should have an Attorney-General who would have direct responsibility for investigating and building up each case of human rights abuse or corruption that the president seeks to be prioritized.

On a parallel note, new DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima may want to be careful and circumspect with her desire to push up the DOJ's conviction rate. Justice is not about convictions. Rather, it is ensuring that due process is fully observed especially by the DOJ starting with the Secretary herself.