Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez won't resign and can't be impeached

One of P.Noy's promises on the campaign trail and during his inaugural speech was the delivery of justice -- which is short hand for the prosecution and conviction of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on corruption charges.

Two major cases that some say ought to be filed against the former President involve the NBN ZTE Deal and the Fertilizer Fund Scam.

In 2009, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee headed by Senator Richard Gordon came out with a report that claims to have connected the dots and unearthed evidence against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and all those involved in both controversial anomalies.

I wouldn't fault Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for being close to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or her husband, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo.

I would fault her for not acting fast enough on both the NBN ZTE Deal and the Fertilizer Fund Scam.

Moreover, I would fault her for being ineffective in getting crooks in government convicted.
Ombudsman’s record
Assistant Ombudsman Jose de Jesus said the office planned to send out orders to some 700 officials and former officials involved in the fertilizer fund to submit counteraffidavits. He said this would be the start of the case’s preliminary investigation.
(Why only now?)
A Sandiganbayan report released last week said that in the first four months of the year, the Office of the Ombudsman lost most of the cases it had filed in the anti-graft court.
Of the 98 cases resolved this year, 78 individuals were either acquitted or saw their cases dismissed. The Sandiganbayan said that between January and April, it resolved 62 cases involving 98 respondents. Only eight persons were convicted.
(This is an awful batting average.)
The same report showed that 56 people were acquitted, while 22 people had their cases dismissed even before trial could start.
Perhaps only with an effective Ombudsman can we have some hope of curbing corruption and certainly, Gutierrez can be impeached -- all it really takes are the numbers.

ARTICLE XI Section 2. 
The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.

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