'Merci created positions in her office before quitting'

By Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2011 04:01 PM | Updated as of May 04 2011 02:45 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Controversies continue to hound Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez despite her resignation. Atty. Mauro Reyes, one of the private prosecutors for Gutierrez's supposed impeachment trial, questioned her alleged midnight appointees.

"I have a copy of the resolution signed by Gutierrez creating some of these positions. Hindi pa nga aprubado yung position, nag-interview na sila. Tatlo dun mga kilalang tao nila. Clearly pagtatanim ito ng tao para masiguro na walang makikitang evidence against them yung uupo na bagong Ombudsman," Reyes said.

He added: "Critical positions ito kasi sila yung gagawa ng mga preliminary investigation at nangangalap ng evidence na later on yun recommendation nila ang pinipirmahan ng Ombudsman. Kung sabihin nila na wala kaming nakalap na evidence or sabihin na mahina ang isang kaso, it will not prosper anymore."

Reyes said they already brought the matter to the attention of several lawmakers including Budget Secretary Butch Abad.

"Kung hindi kasi sila bibigyan ng pondo, mawawalan ng saysay yung pag-create nila ng positions," he said.

He also noted that Gutierrez should have waited for the new Ombudsman to fill up the vacant positions.

Lawyer Tomas Syquia, Gutierrez's impeachment spokesman, earlier confirmed that Gutierrez signed appointment papers of 8 employees at the Office of  the Ombudsman before she resigned.

Syquia said there is a process that is being followed in the appointment of employees and this case went through the usual process.

"Wala naman midnight appointments sa Ombudsman, they were not sudden appointments. May process na dinaanan yun mga yun. They went through that. Nataon lang na natapos na yun process at a time na she decided to resign. All of them are qualified. She won't do something drastic before she leaves, lahat dadaan sa process,” he said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares earlier identified the new appointees as Assistant Ombudsmen Aleu Amante, Marilou Ancheta-Mejica, Maribeth Padios, Elvira Chua, Caezar Asuncon, Joselito Fangon and Rolando Zoleta.