Wednesday, December 16, 2015

87. #8 Defining Moment of the PNoy Administration: Merceditas Gutierrez resigns as Ombudsman

Merceditas Gutierrez, former Secretary of Justice and the first female Ombudsman, was the first casualty of PNoy's campaign to assert himself as the Chief Executive. Perceived as a close ally of former President Arroyo, she got impeached immediately upon the assumption of PNoy to power. She secured an injunction from the Supreme Court, but it was not for long. And with the fiasco that made Rolando Mendoza -- the hostage taker who killed the Chinese tourists in August 2010 -- go berserk, she did not have any political or public sympathy. Rolando Mendoza was upset about his Ombudsman case, and he claimed Ombudsman investigator Emilio Gonzalez demanded money in exchange for its dismissal. She resigned effective May 6, 2011, a week before the anniversary of the elections of 2010. Her own defining moment is when she wrote, the President should have an Ombudsman he can trust. That was a class act, unfortunately it wasn't reciprocated well by the PNoy Administration, which was chest-thumping and congratulating itself for the breakthrough victory. Mar Roxas was quoted somewhere that the next target was the Chief Justice. Nobody thought he was serious, but it showed that establishing the PNoy Presidency as a real force was a medium term project. Personally, I thought things were amiss in the Ombudsman when former Sec. of Justice, Nani Perez, Gutierrez's former boss at the Dept. of Justice, won a case against the Ombudsman for the inordinate delay in his case. It's like winning a case, because the other guy didn't appear, not once but many times. It wouldn't encourage trust for any incoming president, especially one who won on the promise of reform and the fight against graft. So, indeed, with Gutierrez out of the Office of the Ombudsman, Team PNoy ticked the first major item on the reform agenda.

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