The Truth Will Set Us Free. Reflections No 516, 15 December 2010
(republishing, copying, no restrictions)
By: Father Shay Cullen
"The truth will set us free because we are on the side of the truth and of God. And, if you are on the side of truth and God, nobody can touch you."
The truth is supposed to set us free, if it is allowed to come out of the darkness into the light of knowledge. It will free us from ignorance, free us to see the realities of goodness and of evil around us that has plunged the nation into crises. The truth will empower us to overcome evil and prevent it from recurring. It will enable us to judge the morality and legality of the decisions and actions of those who have power and authority over us. It is the window of transparency that will hold all in positions of authority; in families, society or the church, accountable for their decisions and actions. It will guide us to know what is right and wrong, true and false, and good and bad.
The exposure of the truth will guide society to act with determination, be filled with moral courage to see justice, decency, and integrity live in the land. The truth will give us courage to overcome wickedness, corruption and criminal behavior. The evil will be seen in the blinding light of what reality is. We will know what happened and how and why it was allowed to grow as a cancer in the society and then justice may be possible.
But when it is buried in the darkness of unknowing, then all forms of evil will triumph over good. Closing doors to the truth can lead to the gross violation of the rule of law and brings oppression, murders and outrageous crimes. The politicians that can hide behind the curtain of repressed truth delights in impunity and brings disaster and untold suffering on the people.
All who have suffered from injustice and hardship desire with all their heart to see the wrongdoers brought to justice. They hunger and thirst for the truth to reveal the evil acts of the rulers that have hurt others in the past years by their greed and avarice and an arrogant belief in their superiority and entitlement as the supreme rulers of the nation.
The presidential executive order no.1 to set up a "Truth Commission", sought to uncover the alleged corruption of the previous administration, was perhaps inspired by the Truth commission set up in South Africa after the fall of the apartheid government which helped to bring out the truth about the torture, brutality and the murder committed by the elite regime.
The Philippine truth commission, created by executive order of President Aquino soon after his election and assumption of power, was to look into the alleged corrupt practices and scandals of the previous administration. It has been declared unconstitutional by a majority of the Supreme Court justices appointed by the former president Gloria Arroyo. It cannot be overturned unless the court reverses itself no matter how angry is the nation.
The Justices can be given the benefit of any doubt that they acted according to their conscience and belief in their correct interpretation of the Constitution and that the Truth Commission would be unfair and unjust to the accused.
Other say they were faithful and honest to their debt of honor, their "utang na loob", considered a great virtue in Philippine society. But Filipinos ask if there is not a greater debt of honor to the Filipino people. Some ask if the oath of office is to rule in favor of the greater good, the true rule of morality and to allow the truth to shine out.
Those politicians accused and suspected of corruption who have such power and influence to block the normal course of investigation, revelation and prosecution deserved such a truth commission to clear their names. Thus, the innocent will be proven to be so and the guilty, if any, will be brought to justice in a court of law.
There is nothing to prevent the non-government organizations and advocates of human rights from setting up a citizen's fact-finding tribunal and to bring out the truth and for the media to report it. The Department of Justice can then act on the evidence and the truth revealed and brings charges as the evidence demands. The wall of impunity from investigation and prosecution must be torn down. The truth must be revealed.