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WHEREAS, the treacherous and vicious assassination of former Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. on August 21, 1983, has to all Filipinos become a national tragedy and national shame specially because of the early distortions and exaggerations in both foreign and local media so that all right thinking and honest men desire to ventilate the truth through free, independent and dispassionate investigation by prestigious and free investigators; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

WHEREAS, to avoid any bias or partiality in the conduct of an investigation, there is a need to create an independent ad hoc fact-finding Board with plenary powers to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the killing and to allow for a free, unlimited and exhaustive investigation into all the aspects of said tragedy.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, pursuant to the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree.

Section 1.    There is hereby created an independent ad hoc fact-finding Board, which shall be independent from the three departments of the Government, to determine all the facts and circumstances surrounding the said killing. The Board shall composed of a Chairman and at least four (4) but not exceeding six (6) members including two representatives of the Batasang Pambansa. The Batasang Pambansa may, by resolution, designate two (2) of its members as representatives to the Board in whatever capacity to conform with the provisions of Article VIII, Section 10 of the 1973 Constitution mandating that a member of the Batasang Pambansa shall not hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, during his tenure.

With the exception of the two representatives of the Batasang Pambansa, the members of the Board shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines from among the recommendees of the various sectors of society, such as but not limited to legal or bar associations, civic/service organizations, and the business, education, student, labor and other sectors. The President shall appoint/designate the Chairman from among the members of the Board upon its recommendation.

The positions of Chairman and the members of the Board shall be honorary. The Chairman and the members of the Board shall only be entitled to transportation allowance of Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00) and Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) a month, respectively. The Chairman and the members of the Board shall be disqualified from appointment to any public office within one (1) year from and after the date the Board has become functus officio.

Section 2.    The following person shall be disqualified from becoming Chairman or member of the Board:cralaw:red

(a)    Persons financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any transaction or contract with the National Government and its subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies, including government-owned or controlled corporations; and

(b)    Persons who have in any manner commented, theorized, or made any public statements, pronouncement, opinion or view on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, or who have directly or indirectly prejudged, preconceived or in any manner arrived at any conclusion on the tragedy or any aspect thereof. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Section 3.    The Board shall have the power to review the evidence already submitted and determine which to accept and which to hear anew, to issue subpoena or subpoena duces tecum and other compulsory processes requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any evidence relative to any matter under investigation by the Board.

The Board, or any member thereof, or its duly authorized representative may administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses, and receive evidence.

The Board may appoint sheriffs and deputize any law enforcement agency as may be necessary to ensure compliance with its orders and processes. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Section 4.    The Board may hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and impose appropriate penalties therefor.

A person guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so near the Board as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings before the same, including disrespect towards its officials, offensive personalities towards others, or refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness or to subscribe to an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so may be summarily adjudged in direct contempt by the Board and punished with a fine not exceeding P200.00 or imprisonment not exceeding thirty (30) days or both.

Judgment of the Board on the contempt shall be final and unappealable.

Indirect contempt shall be dealt with by the Board in the manner prescribed under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Section 5.    No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, records, correspondence, documents, or other evidence in obedience to a subpoena issued by the Board on the ground that his testimony or the evidence required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to penalty or forfeiture; but his testimony or any evidence produced by him shall not be used against him in connection with any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having invoked his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, except that such individual so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying, nor shall he be exempt from demotion or removal from office.

Section 6.    The Board shall have the power to enter into contracts, to promulgate its rules and regulations, and to perform any and all acts necessary in the execution and implementation of its functions. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Section 7.    The Board, thru its Chairman, shall have the power to engage the services of such persons or personnel as may be required for the effective performance of its functions and responsibilities, to prescribe their duties and fix their compensation, and to organize the structure and staffing pattern of the Board. All persons or personnel appointed, designated or contracted by the Board shall not be subject to the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations.

The Board may appoint a secretary and assistant secretaries who shall be members of the Philippine Bar and who shall be empowered to administer oaths and affirmations and to issue summons, subpoena, and subpoena duces tecum by authority of the Board.

Section 8.    All government agencies including the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Constabulary Criminal Investigation Service (PC-CIS) and all other government investigating agencies shall make available their staff or services and facilities of their office to the Boards as may be required by the letter in the discharge of its functions.

Section 9.    The Board shall appoint a General Counsel and such Deputy General Counsel(s) who shall be members of the Philippine Bar to assist the Board in the discharge of its functions.

The General Counsel and Deputy General Counsels must have all the qualifications of a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Section 10.    The proceedings and hearings conducted by the Board may be either public or held in closed doors at the discretion of the majority of the members of the Board or as may be warranted by the circumstances as where they would affect matters of national security or public safety, or as may be requested by any person testifying in the said proceedings. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

The Board may sit either en banc or in a Division of two as may be provided in the rules and regulations to be promulgated.

Any person called to testify before the Board shall have the right to counsel at any stage of the proceedings.

Section 11.    The Board may allow local and/or foreign observers in its proceedings. The presentation of evidence and the conduct of the proceedings or investigations shall at all times remain under the direction and control of the General Counsel and/or his deputies.

The rules of evidence under the Rules of Court shall be followed as far as practicable. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Section 12.    The findings of the Board shall be made public. Should the findings warrant the prosecution of any person, the Board may initiate the filing of the proper complaint with the appropriate government agency. Thereafter, the Board shall become functus officio, and all its assets and properties shall revert to the National Treasury.

Section 13.    The sum of Five Million Pesos ( P5,000,000.00) is hereby appropriated out of available funds in the National Treasury for the operational expenses of the Board. As a further assurance of its independence, the Board shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit. The Board, by resolution, may dispose of its funds in accordance with the accepted principles of auditing and accounting and shall not be subject to the rules and regulations of the Office of Budget and Management on allocations and releases of funds.

Section 14.    The Commission created and constituted under Administrative Order No. 469 is hereby abolished, and all its records, assets and liabilities shall be transferred to and assumed by the Board. The Board shall not be bound by the evidence so far submitted to or by the acts performed by the said Commission. Presidential Decree No. 1879, as amended, together with the rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto and Administrative Order No. 469 are hereby repealed.

Section 15.    This Decree shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 14th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty-three. 

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