Gov’t readying more charges vs past administration

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 01 2011 03:00 PM | Updated as of May 02 2011 03:41 PM

…sets criteria for next Ombudsman

MANILA, Philippines - The Truth Commission's work may have been put on hold but President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino hinted that the government is "closer" to filing charges over anomalies that happened during the past administration.

Aquino did not specify who would be charged, saying the government will make the announcements once cases are ready for filing.

Asked if cases will be filed against former President Arroyo, Aquino said "it’s difficult to say it is directed against specific individuals, there is still a process that has to be followed.” He added, “we will make the appropriate announcements [once cases are ready for filing] the soonest possible time.”

Aquino said the focus should now be on finding the next Ombudsman to replace Merceditas Gutierrez who will leave the post effective May 6.

“The concentration is now on finding the Ombudsman, we are awaiting the [Judicial and Bar Council] to produce the list of recommendees,” he added.

Aquino has set the criteria for the next Ombudsman: “Someone who is dedicated and who has strong beliefs. He or she should be brave and has the knowledge to pursue cases against persons who are liable. The cases filed should be strong,” he stressed.

Aquino again took issue over the plea bargain that the Ombudsman entered into with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, saying the rules have not been followed. Aquino maintained the evidence against Garcia was strong.

He also noted the Ombudsman record of being "slow" in the processing of cases.

“What are our complaints against the old Ombudsman? It is our issue that cases are adjudicated in 6 years. We can’t say they are fast in resolving in cases, it is the contrary which is true…,” he added.