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CJ Corona's Separate Opinion Re TruthComm

CJ Corona's Separate Opinion Re TruthComm

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Published by Gerald Magno

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Published by: Gerald Magno on Dec 09, 2010
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01/11/2011

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G.R. No. 192935 — 
Louis ‘Barok’ C. Biraogo versus The Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 
 
 x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
 
G.R. No. 193036 — 
Rep. Edcel C. Lagman 
et al
. versus Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. and Department of Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad.
 
Promulgated:
 
December 7, 2010
 
 x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
 
SEPARATE OPINION
 
CORONA,
.
.:
 
OF TRUTH AND TRUTH COMMISSIONS
 
 The fundamental base upon which a truth commission iscreated is the
right to the truth 
.
[1]
While the right to the truth is yetto be established as a right under customary law
[2]
or as a generalprinciple of international law,
[3]
it has nevertheless emerged as a“legal concept at the national, regional and international levels, andrelates to the obligation of the state to provide information tovictims or to their families or even society as a whole about thecircumstances surrounding serious violations of human rights.”
[4]
 
A truth commission has been generally defined
[5]
as a “bodyset up to investigate a past history of violations of human rights ina particular country ...,”
[6]
and includes four elements:
 
... First, a truth commission focuses on the past. Second, a truthcommission is not focused on a specific event, but attempts to paint the
 
overall picture of certain human rights abuses, or violations of internationalhumanitarian law, over a period of time. Third, a truth commission usuallyexists temporarily and for a pre-defined period of time, ceasing to existwith the submission of a report of its findings. Finally, a truth commissionis always vested with some sort of authority, by way of its sponsor, thatallows it greater access to information, greater security or protection to diginto sensitive issues, and a greater impact with its report.
[7]
 
As reported by Amnesty International,
[8]
there are at least 33truth commissions established in 28 countries from 1974 to 2007and this includes the Philippines, which created the PresidentialCommittee on Human Rights (PCHR) in 1986 under the post-Marcos administration of Pres. Corazon C. Aquino.
 
THE PHILIPPINE EXPERIENCE
 
Notably, Pres. Corazon C. Aquino created not one but twotruth commissions.
[9]
Aside from the PCHR, which was created toaddress human rights violations, the Presidential Commission onGood Government or PCGG was also established. The PCGG wastasked with assisting the President in the “recovery of all in-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, hisimmediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the takeoveror sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned orcontrolled by them, during his administration, directly or throughnominees, by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or
 
using their powers, authority, influence, connections orrelationship,” among others.
[10]
Unlike the present embattled andcontroversial Truth Commission, however, the PCGG was createdby Pres. Corazon C. Aquino pursuant to her legislative powersunder Executive Order No. 1,
[11]
which in turn, was sanctioned byProclamation No. 3.
[12]
 
And unlike the PCGG, the present Truth Commission suffersfrom both legal and constitutional infirmities and must be struckdown as unconstitutional.
 
POWER TO CREATE PUBLIC OFFICES:INHERENTLY LEGISLATIVE
 
 The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in oursystem of government.
[13]
This principle is one of the cornerstonesof our constitutional democracy and it cannot be eroded withoutendangering our government.
[14]
The 1987 Constitution dividesgovernmental power into three co-equal branches: the executive,the legislative and the judicial. It delineates the powers of the threebranches: the legislature is generally limited to the enactment of laws, the executive department to the enforcement of laws and the judiciary to their interpretation and application to cases andcontroversies.
[15]
Each branch is independent and supreme withinits own sphere and the encroachment by one branch on another isto be avoided at all costs.
 
 The power under scrutiny in this case is the creation of apublic office. It is settled that, except for the offices created by the

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