Gutierrez camp says graft raps 'absurd'


Posted at May 09 2011 08:03 PM | Updated as of May 10 2011 06:50 PM

Ex-Ombudsman also welcomes Sandiganbayan decision on Garcia deal

MANILA, Philippines - Merceditas Gutierrez's camp on Monday called the filing of criminal charges against the former Ombudsman as "baseless and absurd."

In a statement, her camp said they expected the filing of graft charges against Gutierrez. 

"It appears to be an act of desperation on their part resulting from the former Ombudsman's unexpected resignation," the statement added.

"The termination of the impeachment proceedings in the Senate has effectively deprived them of the forum to project themselves for political gains which is the reason why they are pursuing the charges against her before a different body," it said.

In a complaint filed on Monday before the Department of Justice, various groups accused Gutierrez of violating sections of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code or perjury in solemn affirmation; and, violation of Presidential Decreee No. 1829 or Penalizing Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders.

The complaint said Gutierrez failed to file cases against respondents in the fertilizer fund scam.

The former Ombudsman's camp said she is ready to face the charges, describing them as "nothing new."

"She had sufficiently answered them in the past. She believes that if fairly and objectively treated, she will be vindicated,"  it added.

In a separate statement, Gutierrez welcomed the Sandiganbayan decision approving the plea bargain agreement on the Garcia plunder case, calling it "a vindication of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Special Prosecutor."

"It is consistent with the position taken by our special prosecutors that the plea bargain agreement is legal, regular and aboveboard, otherwise it will not be approved by the graft court," she said.

"It is likewise recognition on the position we took that the plea bargain deal is the best option for the government given the weak information filed by my predecessor," Gutierrez added. "It is an acknowledgement that we have not been remiss in our duty to protect the interest of the government and the Filipino people." - with reports from Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News