A starter guide for the new Ombudsman
By a former Ombudsman official*
The new ombudsman would certainly be dealing with a lot of difficulties and great challenges. What is definite is that he or she must be ready to review a roomful of cases awaiting his/her final approval.
Merceditas Gutierrez centralized authority and took final action on all decisions, resolutions and reports involving cases of whatever nature. Undoubtedly, the new ombudsman has to address with dispatch the many pending cases for final disposal.
He/she must be courageous enough to ensure that heads would roll. After conducting an honest and fair assessment of the people in the organization, most especially, those who occupy managerial or supervisory positions, the new ombudsman will be able to determine who could be assets or liabilities to the organization.
More than the image that also needs to be greatly improved, the office must likewise work hard to regain the trust and confidence of the vigilant citizenry and civil society as their full support and cooperation is vital in the anti-corruption campaign.
As an ice-breaker, the newly appointed ombudsman must exhaust all available remedies to bring back Gen. Carlos Garcia to jail without trampling on the right of the general against double jeopardy. But, he/she would have a serious dilemma as the special prosecutor and her prosecutorial staff are on the other side of the fence.
Next in the agenda must be the filing of forfeiture case against Hernando “Nani” Perez which the previous leadership decided to hold in abeyance. Material documents on this case are more than sufficient to establish the amassing of wealth disproportionate to his legitimate sources of income.
Furthermore, while the completion of the investigation may still take a while, the new advocate must also come out
with a comprehensive plan on how the investigation on the fertilizer fund scam could be completed without much delay. The good thing in the present investigation is that it would now be very easy to get access to important documents, much different from what was experienced before. The money trail could be easily established and the testimonies of vital witnesses could now be secured.
It is likewise a must for the new ombudsman to carefully look into the Comelec-Mega Pacific case and take the necessary actions. He/she may also consider looking into the fact that the government continues to spend substantial amount of money to preserve the computers which in the first place could have been avoided.
The actions of the new ombudsman on the foregoing cases would serve as his/her baptism of fire. These would spell the degree of his/her sincerity to stamp out corruption. These would also be the gauge for the civil society and the public in general in deciding whether to give the new ombudsman their full trust and support.
* The author requested anonymity so that he could write freely.