Palace: No replacement yet for Merci

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 03 2011 05:07 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2011 06:59 AM

President Benigno Aquino III has yet to consider a replacement for embattled Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who is facing impeachment before Congress.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda enumerated the criteria for the next person to sit as Ombudsman.

"One who will fully comply under the provisions of the Constitution and under the Ombudsman Act, one who goes after graft and corruption and who will also be supportive of our campaign of 'kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,'" Lacierda said.

The spokesman said Malacañang fully supports the impeachment process against Gutierrez amid calls that she resign from the position.

"I hope that the Ombudsman will see the light. Again it's a process that she would have to undergo if she does not resign. Then she would have to go through the impeachment process," Lacierda said.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte earlier said Gutierrez should "start weighing her options," which includes resignation, or face the full brunt of the impeachment complaints in the House of Representatives.

She said the country needs a new Ombudsman who will be swift enough to resolve cases filed before the office.

Valte also said that President Aquino does not need to pressure his allies in Congress to push for the impeachment of Gutierrez.

“The President does not need to rally his allies because the public has spoken. The lawmakers already know that, which is why I think this has come to where it is now because there is a strong clamor for the impeachment," she said.

Members of the House of Representatives Justice committee voted on Tuesday morning that there are sufficient grounds in the 2 impeachment complaints filed against Gutierrez.

Several lawmakers claimed the panel railroaded the proceedings, insisting there is a need for judicial courtesy.

Although the Supreme Court has yet to make a final a decision on Gutierrez's motion for reconsideration, it gave the House justice committee the green light to proceed with hearing the case.  With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News