World News

Philippines' Aquino sets up 'truth commission'

Philippine President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III speaks beside a poster of Vice-President elect Jejomar Binay during a news conference after announcing members of his cabinet in Quezon City, Metro Manila June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Erik de Castro

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines will set up a “truth commission” to investigate allegations of corruption, poll fraud and rights abuses of the outgoing administration, President-elect Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday.

Aquino said the commission would have investigative powers and other state agencies, including the justice department and the anti-graft Ombudsman, would help to investigate President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her government.

“This truth commission is the commission I promised the people we will set up to put closure on so many issues,” Aquino told a media conference the day before he will be sworn in as the country’s 15th president.

“They will be collators of data, evidence, the proof as to who committed what and what transgression of our laws was committed.”

Aquino had campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, which struck a chord with the electorate.

Arroyo’s government was hounded by strings of controversies, including that she rigged the 2004 presidential poll and that her family and political allies benefitted from government deals. She denies any wrongdoing.

Last week, the co-founder of Transparency International urged Aquino to jail corrupt officials and seized their assets to show it is serious about taking on the endemic corruption that has hobbled its development and investment. (Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by John Mair)