High hopes for new Ombudsman

by Niña Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2011 06:24 PM | Updated as of Jul 27 2011 04:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines - House Deputy Speaker Rep. Erin Tañada, Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Federico Quimbo and Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, chair of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms welcomed the appointment of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

All three congressmen believe Carpio-Morales' reputation is unquestionable and are hoping that with her appointment, she will be able to do what is necessary and bring back the integrity of the Ombudsman.

"People say she has been fair. She decided in favor of GMA-initiated laws 50 percent of the time and against GMA-initated laws also 50 percent of the time," said Tañada.

Tañada said they have high expectations with Carpio-Morales' appointment, but they are also closely looking at who will be appointed as prosecutor.

"Talagang mataas, kailangan ng kaunting palugit dahil bago pa lang, kailangan i-audit muna nya ang opisina nya. Mahirap ang magiging papel ni Justice Morales once she starts her work as Ombudsman.

"Who will be the partner of Justice Morales, who will be the prosecutor? It is totally one thing to gather evidence, complaints...another thing is to prosecute. If the prosecutor is not on the same wave length as the Ombudsman, mahirap. Kailangan makita kung sino ang i-aapoint bilang prosecutor," said Tañada.

Quimbo, on the other hand, said the appointment of Carpio-Morales comes at a perfect time when the Ombudsman's reputation is badly tattered. "Kaya niyang i-galvanize ang isang demoralized institution."

But Quimbo and Barzaga were also quick to point out that Congress will not hesitate to do its work, including impeaching the Ombudsman if necessary.

"Congress will not hesitate to exercise its power to review and evaluate the performance of the Ombudsman, even if we have to impeach," said Quimbo.

Tañada, Barganza and Quimbo expect the new Ombudsman not just to run after former President Gloria Arroyo but everyone for that matter.

"If guilty, convict; if not guilty, acquit," said Barganza.

"Malinis lahat ng kasong nakatengga duon. Regardless of whether Cory, Ramos, Erap, GMA time pa yun, kailangan malinis na at maimbentaryo. May mga kaso duon, labing walong taon na, wala pa. Kung may kailangan makulong, makulong; kung may hindi nagkasala, ipawalang sala. Marami din duon ang unjustly accused," said Quimbo.

Quimbo added that Carpio-Morales was appointed by the president not because he just wants to run after one person or Arroyo for that matter.

"Para ibalik ang tiwala sa opisina. Ang gustong legacy ng Presidente, gusto nya ng Ombudsman na katatakutan...hindi basta basa naaareglo."