Kiko: Deputy Ombudsman should inhibit from duties

April 3, 2011

ABSCBNNews.com
April 4, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Monday said Deputy Ombudsman Emilio A. Gonzalez III should inhibit from his duties until a Malacañang decision on his dismissal becomes final and executory.

Pangilinan said Gonzalez can still file a motion for reconsideration and wait for a final decision on whether Malacañang fires or retains him.

“Dapat hindi muna gumawa ng official act for the time being. Assuming he is dismissed, what will happen to all his decisions while his motion for reconsideration is pending? Out of delicadeza and knowing that he has a pending case, he should not be functioning,” he told radio dzMM.

Malacañang had ordered Gonzalez relieved for gross neglect of duty and gross misconduct in handling the dismissal-complaint against police officer Rolando Mendoza who hostaged a tourist bus last August 2010.

Mendoza said he was not given a fair hearing at the Ombudsman and demanded to be reinstated when he hijacked the bus.

He and 8 Hong Kong tourists died after the 12-hour incident, which embarrassed the government before the international community.

The Ombudsman, meanwhile, said the Ombudsman’s Internal Affairs Board had already cleared Gonzalez of any offense.Pangilinan said Republic Act 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of 1989 clearly shows that the President has the power to hire and fire appointive officials, including the deputy Ombudsman. “He has the supervision and control over these appointed officials. I don’t see how they can interpret it any other way,” he said.

Faster impeachment trial

Pangilinan, meanwhile, said he is still hoping to amend the impeachment rules in the Senate ahead of the impeachment trial of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

In his proposal, Pangilinan said senators should vote right after the presentation of each article of impeachment instead of waiting for the presentation of all the articles of impeachment before a final vote is conducted. He explained that Gutierrez can be removed from office if she is proven guilty on only one article of impeachment.

“Instead na dulo ang botohan sa articles of impeachment, ang gusto ni Sen. Sonny Osmeña at Sen. Teofisto Guingona III after every article presented, if the body feels that we should vote, we should be allowed to vote,” he said.

He said voting immediately for each article of impeachment would speed up the trial process, which, he said, could last up to a year.

“Kapag may conviction, mapapadali ang kaso. Kung wala, e di mapapatagal hanggang dulo…It might last a year kung hindi masyado maayos ang proceeding,” he said.

Fellow senators have opposed Pangilinan’s proposal, saying that amending the rules could push back the impeachment trial to June.

Pangilinan also said he will leave it up to the public to determine if the Senate is fair or biased in hearing the impeachment case against Gutierrez.

“We can’t fool the people now. Hindi na pwede bola-bolahn o loko-lokohin. Pag nakita nila na hindi maganda ang desisyon o hindi patas, sila mismo they are capable of seeing through what we are doing,” he said.

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