View Full Version : Circus and politics are alike

05-08-2007, 11:02 AM
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The Manila Times

Binay case

Ombudsman Mercy:‘It’s about the law!’

By Jomar Canlas, Reporter

It’s about the law!” Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez fumed during an interview with The Manila Times.

She was upset by all the talk from politicians and government officials, including DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno, about her order for the preventive suspension of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay.

Binay faces charges filed by former Makati councilor Oscar Ibay accusing the mayor of having placed 8,000 fake employees on Makati’s payroll.

Ibay’s accusation against Binay includes grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and dishonesty.

The preventive suspension against Binay does mean that Ombudsman Gutierrez has found him guilty. It is just to make sure that he will not be able to disrupt the investigation and tamper with evidence.

Puno has said that the order should be deferred “in the spirit of fair play since it is the election period.”

Sen. Joker Arroyo and Rep. Prospero Pichay, among others, had called the Ombudsman’s order “bad timing.” And of course opposition figures have spoken of the suspension order as if she had issued it on Malacañang’s instruction.

Ombudsman Gutierrez has angrily reacted to these statements.

She said when she was new at her constitutionally independent office, she was being berated for not charging officials against whom complaints had been filed years before she became the Ombudsman. Her critics did not want to give her time to study the cases that her predecessors, including former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, had not acted on.

Now that she had taken a decisive step on the Binay case, she is again being criticized.

Why should the independent Ombudsman be guided by political considerations? she asked.

Isn’t her duty to go after government officials accused of graft and corrupt practices.

How can “good or bad timing in connection with the current election campaign” govern what her decisions should be, she asked.

Irked by Secretary Puno’s statements and seeming decision to defer carrying out her order, Ombudsman Gutierrez on Monday immediately ordered DILG Secretary Puno to explain his action of deferring the full implementation of the preventive suspension order.

DILG Undersecretary Marius Corpus immediately responded to the Ombudsman by sending his compliance letter which says “pursuant to this directive the honorable DILG secretary authorized the undersigned to personally serve and implement the said Ombudsman order which the latter did via personal service to Mayor Binay on May 4, 2007, at 11:30 in the evening in the latter’s office at Makati City Hall as evidenced by herein attached document.”

Gutierrez stressed to the DILG that the “Office of the Ombudsman is mandated to fight graft and corruption. It is important to stress that evidence and not politics dictates our actions, nothing more, nothing less. The Office of the Ombudsman is an independent institution, which means it does not give in to the dictates of politics.”

“People should not treat the work of the Ombudsman as that of politicians who are concerned with political timing, political cost and benefits. The only timing the Ombudsman is concerned with is ‘will respondents’ continued presence in office jeopardize the investigation? If the answer is yes, then that is when the suspension must be ordered and implemented. When we ordered the suspension of two mayors in Southern Visayas (in Cebu for lamppost scam) several weeks ago, we did not hear of anyone saying the orders were ill-timed,” Gutierrez strongly stressed.

Last Friday, Gutierrez accused judges and justices who impair their work in fighting corruption for issuing TRO and injunction orders for a price.

Gutierrez recently exposed to The Times the CA Dirty Dozen, particularly those justices who received bribe money to block the progress of cases against public officials who were suspended or dismissed from office by the Ombudsman.

Another case of “ghost employees” against Binay reached the CA recently after Malacañang imposed a suspension order against him. However, Binay succeeded in getting a temporary restraining order (TRO) from CA Justice and ponente Enrico Lanzanas, with Justices Edgardo Cruz and Jose Reyes.

Meanwhile, a Times source said if Binay again applies for a TRO from the Court of Appeals he will have “to pass through the eye of a needle.”

This is because the CA justices are now being “very well behaved” after she went after those of them who have been accused of being “TRO for sale justices.”


What a circus...:confused:

07-08-2008, 04:18 PM
Change the face of political candidates never been the absolute solution of socio economic change, it is the system that we need to renew and change.