Ombudsman probe vs GMA came too late: Casiño

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2011 05:40 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2011 06:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño questioned Monday the move of Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro to investigate former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the P728 million fertilizer fund scandal.

"The investigation is too late in coming and if the actions of the former ombudsman are an indication Gloria will just be cleared. It seems that Casimiro is still following the lead of his former boss ex-Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in defending Gloria. This is highly questionable as both the farmers of [Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas] and Frank Chavez who are the complainants were not informed of the process," Casiño said in a statement.

He added: "Casimiro's lack of enthusiasm to file charges against Arroyo only dooms Casimiro's chances of becoming Ombudsman."

Casimiro has been filing cases against personalities identified with the Arroyo administration in recent weeks amid his application for the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Office of the Ombudsman is seen as a crucial tool to holding Arroyo administration personalities accountable as it is the only entity allowed to file cases against former and present government officials before the Sandiganbayan.

The last Ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez, was impeached and subsequently forced to resign over allegations she sat on cases regarding the past administration which appointed her to office.

Arroyo's camp has declined to comment on the issue pending receipt of a copy of the order.

Casimiro, meanwhile, was nowhere in the final shortlist of applicants to the post, which was released and is expected to be submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council to the President.

The shortlist released to media by JBC member Niel Tupas included retired Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento, former Justice Secretary Artemio Tuquero and Presidential Commission on Good Government Commissioner Gerard Mosquera. They all had 5 votes each.