MANILA, Philippines - Political analyst Prof. Edmund Tayao believes the alleged visit of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo to Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez hours after the House of Representatives voted in favor of her impeachment is another nick to her already beaten image.
Tayao said impeachment is a political process and public perception plays a big role. The trial at the Senate has yet to start, but public perception is already against the Ombudsman, he said.
"Public perception is against the Ombudsman, hindi mabuti para sa kanya ang pagpunta ni GMA pagkatapos ng botohan sa impeachment case. If you are one of the personalities in this impeachment case, you should be careful with what you say and be careful to be seen in public with whoever,” he said.
“Pwede naman na nag-usap nalang sila sa ibang lugar o nagkita, tumawag sa telepono para wala sanang nakakita sa kanila. Kung marami raw kasi ang nakakita, hindi maiiwasan na i-spin nila na kakampi ni Gutierrez si Arroyo,” he added.
Tayao added that people can only speculate what the two talked about during the alleged visit.
Gutierrez refused to comment on the issue.
"The Ombudsman will not dignify such a malicious rumor with a comment," said Anna Sanchez, media officer from the Office of the Ombudsman.
An anonymous caller purporting to be a neighbor of Gutierrez contacted ABS-CBN this morning and alleged Mrs. Arroyo visited Ombudsman Gutierrez.
ABS-CBN visited the Ombudsman's neighborhood in Santa Ana, Manila and residents and barangay officials confirmed seeing the former president. However, they refused to face the camera for fear of retribution.
Two men identified by a barangay official as security guards working for the residential building owned by the family of Ombudsman Gutierrez's husband approached the ABS-CBN team and took their names.
They also took photographs of the news team using a small handy-camera.