Ombudsman rejects resign calls

By David Dizon,

Posted at Mar 10 2011 05:04 PM | Updated as of Mar 11 2011 03:32 AM

'I feel they're bullying me' - Gutierrez

MANILA, Philippines - Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on Thursday said she feels bullied by sectors who are calling for her impeachment or resignation without giving her a chance to defend herself.

Asked how she feels about mounting calls for her impeachment or resignation, she said: "Bullying me? Yes. I feel that way. I have that feeling. Eh wala pa ngang plenary sa House e meron na kaagad conclusion at meron nang nagsasabi na magresign."

She appealed to lawmakers in both the House of Representatives and Senate to be fair to her unlike others who have already made up their minds.

"Iba po ang pagtrato sa akin. Dahil ba ako ay isang babae na pinagkakaisahan ng mga kalalakihan? Sana po hindi," she asked.

Gutierrez called for the press conference after Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Teofisto "TG" Guingona III released the partial recommendations of the committee on the plea bargaining agreement between the Office of the Ombudsman and former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia.

Guingona said the Ombudsman should be impeached while members of the Office of the Special Prosecutor should be fired for "neglecting, weakening and complicating" the plunder case against Garcia.

 He also asked that the plea bargain be nullified because it is disadvantageous to the people.

In response, Gutierrez said it is only the Sandiganbayan that will judge whether the plea bargain agreement is valid, legal and proper. She  said it is the anti-graft court that should decide if government prosecutors should be held liable if the agreement is defective.

The Ombudsman said Guingona's recommendation for her impeachment was not shared by all members of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee.

"My observation is that they have different decisions on the committee report...I don't want to think that this is an indication or a reflection of what will happen to my case in the Senate," she said.

Gutierrez again rejected calls for her to resign, saying that she has done nothing wrong.

Asked if she feels that the Liberal Party is being too personal against her, she said: "Yun nga ang feeling ko, na pinepersonal na ako, na gusto na nila akong palitan at meron na silang gustong ipalit sa akin."

She also said she will not reveal the names of 50 lawmakers who have pending graft cases in her office.

Gutierrez's spokesman earlier identified 4 of the congressmen with pending graft cases including Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Rep. Rey Umali, Marikina Rep. Romero Federico "Miro" Quimbo, Justice Committee Chairman Niel Tupas Jr., and Vice-Chairman Rodolfo Fariñas.

"No. We just said that they have cases to show that some of them might have motive. Wag na nating paguluhin ang ating proseso at andami nang issues na-raise," the Ombudsman said.