Merci deputy pressed to quit

May 3, 2011

Marlon Purificacion
Journal Online
May 4, 2011

SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan called on Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III and special prosecutors particularly Wendell Barrera-Sulit to follow the move of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and resign.

Pangilinan explained that Gonzalez and other special prosecutors no longer deserve their posts after striking a plea bargain agreement with former Armed Forces Comptroller Carlos Garcia.

During the Senate inquiry into the controversial agreement, the special prosecutors sounded like the defense counsel of Garcia.

Pangilinan said that this is enough reason for the officials to vacate their posts.

The Senate Ethics Commitee earlier recommended to Malacañang the removal of Sulit, Deputy Special Prosecutors Roberto Callos and Jesus Michael Jr. and Assistant Special Prosecutors Jose Balmeo, Jr. and Joseph Capistrano.

Pangilinan also called for the resignation of all midnight appointees of Gutierrez.



The Judicial and Bar Council may formally announce next week that the post of Ombudsman is vacant.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, member of the JBC, said they are still waiting for a copy of the resignation letter of Gutierrez and might announce the vacancy on Monday next week.

From the time of the announcement , a new Ombudsman must be appointed within a maximum of 90 days.

The lawmaker predicted that they will have at least 20 applicants or nominees for the position.

He said all applicants or nominees will undergo interviews and psychiatric evaluation before they submit to the President a shortlist of at least three nominees.

“Well, let me talk about the qualifications that the next Ombudsman should be if I were to decide. One, basically, we are looking for someone who is not like the former. So one, must not have close associations with the President. Even if we believe in President Aquino, even if we believe in his integrity, still, that closeness will always be interpreted and used against him later on and against the Ombudsman. So, the next Ombudsman, even President Aquino will appoint him or her, must not be too identified with the President or any of his allies and with his party-mates,” Escudero said.

The next Ombudsman must also have will power or “strong knees” to act on the many cases pending with the Ombudsman.

“And third, he or she must have that level of integrity and courage to really run after those who violated the law and stole from the coffers of government. Wala dapat takot dito,” Escudero added.

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