|President Aquino exchanges pleasantries with newly sworn Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales (right) and retired chief justice Artemio Panganiban during the oathtaking ceremony Wednesday in Malacañang. Photo by Benhur Arcayan, Malacañang Photo
MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales has taken her oath of office as the new Ombudsman. President Aquino administered her oath in Malacanang.
Morales was accompanied by husband Eugenio Morales, sons Eugenio Morales III and Umberto Morales.
Also witnessing the oath taking were Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, and House justice committee chair Niel Tupas, Jr.
President Aquino is now counting on the Ombudsman to take the lead in the investigation and filing of graft and corruption cases against officials of the previous administration.
President Aquino has given up on the Truth Commission after the Supreme Court ruled that Executive Order No. 1 creating the commission is unconstitutional.
“Wala tayong magagawa e. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of our laws and we are the implementer of the same, so we have to follow them. But still justice will still be served,” Aquino told reporters.
Aquino said the data and evidence gathered by the Truth Commission can still be used.
“Yung data, evidence, testimony na nakuha nung tinatayo ang Truth Commission is still there and can still be utilized. So kung sa form ang pinag[tatalunan], ako ay interesado doon sa substance. Paano ba natin mapapabilis makamit ang katarungan? So it’s not necessarily… has to be the Truth Commission as the form. Perhaps we now have confidence that the Ombudsman will be doing the function for which the office was set up,” he said.