'Sick ma, hubby caused Merci to quit'

By Michael Punongbayan, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 02 2011 09:12 AM | Updated as of May 02 2011 07:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines -  Why did Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez resign?

Her mother is sick, her husband’s health has been deteriorating, and she herself has been suffering from stress.

All these reduced Gutierrez to “a nervous wreck,” effectively diminishing her efficiency and effectiveness as the Ombudsman, said lawyer Salvador Panelo, one of her supporters.

“The torment and the frightening prospect of her beloved mother flirting with the after life, not to mention her husband’s deteriorating health, as well as the threatening ailment (were) creeping into her stressed physique,” he said.

He now heads a group called the Movement of Enlightened and Responsible Citizens Against Impeachment (MERCI).

Panelo said the unmitigated and continuing assault on her character and reputation magnified in the tri-media were the cause of the problems of Gutierrez.

“Conscious of a tedious impeachment trial that will only detract the senators from focusing their attention and energy on more important and pressing national concerns to the detriment of the interest of the nation, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, despite her firm conviction of her innocence and unshakable belief that the articles of impeachment do not amount to a betrayal of public trust, makes the supreme and personal sacrifice by resigning her constitutional office,” he said.

“Such is a commendable, courageous and selfless act which was not lost in the appreciation of (President Aquino). With the resignation of Ombudsman Gutierrez, President Aquino will no longer have a convenient excuse to go after the corrupt and grafters.”

Gutierrez remains ombudsman until Thursday, May 5, after which time Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro will take charge.