MANILA, Philippines - The Akbayan party-list group on Monday served a notice of eviction to Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and demanded that she immediately vacate her post for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the constitution.
In a protest action held in front of the Office of the Ombudsman, the group brought outsized eviction notices, which they posted at the anti-graft office’s main gate to register the people’s loss of confidence to Gutierrez.
“We are serving this notice of eviction to Gutierrez because she does not enjoy the public’s trust to continue staying as the country’s ombudsman,” said former Akbayan party-list representative and impeachment complainant Risa Hontiveros.
“Public trust is the basic ingredient in occupying any public office. With that element petered out, the position becomes ineffective in carrying out its tasks and functions," she added.
Hontiveros said Gutierrez has no other recourse but to resign or be impeached.
“The ombudsman’s options have radically lessened in the course of the impeachment process. It now boils down to resignation or impeachment. Insisting on staying on office is not an option for the public,” Hontiveros said.
The group also warned of “wave after wave” of protest actions if Gutierrez insists on occupying the controversial public post. The group said popular mass actions from key cities in the country are already being prepared.
“We are expecting that the impeachment hearings currently being conducted by the House Committee on Justice will eventually go to the plenary for resolution. In such a scenario, the commitment of different district representatives must be secured,” Akbayan Executive Committee member Francis Isaac said.
“We will guarantee that the voice of their constituencies which is supportive of judicial reforms and highly in favor of the impeachment of Gutierrez is reflected on their votes,” Isaac added.
The House Committee on Justice headed by Representative Neil Tupas is scheduled on Tuesday to present its report and the articles of impeachment against Gutierrez before plenary. The House plenary will vote on whether or not the articles of impeachment will be transmitted to the Senate for trial.
Isaac said protest actions would be conducted in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, General Santos City, Zamboanga and the National Capital Region. In Quezon City, almost daily mass actions are scheduled at the Office of the Ombudsman and Congress this week to press for the removal of Gutierrez.
“The fundamental aim of the mass actions is to highlight the fact that the clamor for Gutierrez’s removal has a national character. It also aims to consolidate all the forces against corruption. There will be no let-up in this advocacy. No quarters will be given. Gutierrez will be removed,” Isaac said.
Akbayan said the different protest actions would consist of candle lighting events, noise barrage actions, “truth and justice rallies” and motorcades.
A candle lighting vigil for truth, justice and accountability is also set to be conducted Monday at the south gate of the House of Representatives.