Merci says rights violated 'in name of politics'


Posted at Mar 01 2011 05:45 PM | Updated as of Mar 02 2011 05:53 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez lambasted the House of Representatives Committee on Justice for pushing through with the impeachment proceedings, saying she can no longer expect any fair treatment from majority of its members.

In a statement, Gutierrez said what the House justice committee did this morning “is a bad precedent in our justice system because the [committee] only showed how the constitutional rights of an individual could be trampled upon in the name of politics.”

The committee voted on Tuesday morning that there are sufficient grounds in the 2 impeachment complaints filed against Gutierrez.

A total of 41 lawmakers agreed with the motion finding sufficient grounds in the first impeachment complaint filed by former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros against Gutierrez. Twelve lawmakers dissented.

On the second complaint, a total of 42 justice committee members said there were sufficient grounds for impeachment while 12 dissented.

“The Justice Committee has to be reminded that what they voted upon is the second impeachment complaint against me and falls under the one-year ban. The same case is still pending before the Supreme Court. This grave injustice is evident and therefore illegal,” Gutierrez said.

She filed on Monday her motion for reconsideration on the SC ruling that upheld the lower House’s right to impeach a constitutional officer. The same ruling also subsequently lifted the status quo ante order on the impeachment hearings.

Gutierrez maintained that the complaints were based on false accusations meant to “unjustly vilify me and the office I am representing.”

“This is not my fight alone but also for the Office of the Ombudsman as institution that has been unduly undermined in the selfish quest to unfairly remove me from office,” she said.