Philippine President Opts for "Truth Commission"

MANILA, Philippines, JULY 19, 2005 ( President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced the formation of a «truth commission» to investigate allegations of fraud in the 2004 election, in a letter sent to the Philippine bishops’ conference.

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In the letter, read publicly by a spokesman, Arroyo called for the commission, citing «the need to restore trust,» the Missionary Service News Agency reported today.

After reiterating that the wiretapped telephone conversation with an Electoral Commission official, released by the opposition, did not signal an attempt to rig the election, Arroyo said: «I now owe the Filipino people a huge debt of service, a debt that, to the best of the abilities that God has given me, I must now try to repay.»

Arroyo is suspected of electoral fraud which gave her victory in May 2004. And some of her relatives, who have left the country, are suspected of taking bribes for illegal gambling.

Several members of her government have quit and, along with tens of thousands of people who have taken to the streets, have demanded her resignation.

The country’s bishops, in a recent letter, observed that the nonviolent appeals for her resignation, the demand for a «truth commission» and an impeachment process were not contrary to the Gospel.

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