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PNoy: Yes, anti-corruption campaign is personal

By PURPLE ROMERO

‘What is wrong remains wrong, regardless of how long it has been allowed to persist.’

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino today, July 25, 2011, appointed retired Supreme Court justice Conchita Carpio-Morales as the new Ombudsman.

In naming her the new Ombudsman, the President said he expects “an honest-to-goodness anti-corruption office, not one that condones  corruption and abuses in government.”

“Some of my critics say that I take this campaign against corruption personally. It’s true: doing what’s right is personal. Making people accountable—whoever they may be—is personal. It should be personal for all of us, because we have all been victimized by corruption,” the President said in his second state of the nation address.

“What is wrong remains wrong, regardless of how long it has been allowed to persist. We cannot simply let it pass. If we ignore the crimes of the past, they will continue to haunt us. And if we do not hold people accountable, then they will do it again and again.”

He added: “When the new Ombudsman, former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, takes office, we will have an honest-to-goodness anti-corruption office, not one that condones the corruption and abuses in government. I expect that this year, we will have filed our first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices. And these will be real cases, with strong evidence and clear testimonies, which will lead to the punishment of the guilty.”

Carpio-Morales’s appointment papers were transmitted to the Chief Justice at 2.40 p.m., according to a Newsbreak source. She replaces resigned Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

Her appointment may be deemed a demotion, but the retired SC justice couldn’t care less. “I’m not a title-conscious person,” she told former SC magistrate Regino Hermosisima, a member of the screening body for aspirants to the Ombudsman, in June.

This no-nonsense and straightforward attitude seem to be a trademark of the newly-appointed Ombudsman.

In her public interview before the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which vets nominees to the post, Carpio-Morales was one of the few who didn’t give a litany of promises or resort to rhetoric to convince the body that she deserved the job.

Retired SC Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales

Her 5 step-plan for the institution is focused on improving the skills of Ombudsman personnel. While her first order of the day is to conduct an inventory of cases, Carpio-Morales said she intends to conduct a thorough personnel audit. “I will get a list of names and their job description to know where the fault lies,” she told the JBC.

She added that the prosecutors and the investigators would have to be re-oriented about how to strengthen a case, adding that the Sandiganbayan dismissed the plunder case against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia because the prosecution filed weak information.

She would also have the prosecutors undergo trial briefs and mandate them to report to her periodically.

Carpio-Morales does not consider the disposal of thousands of cases as her top priority, amid the criticism that the Office of the Ombudsman is suffering from massive backlog. “I don’t have the magician or genius quality to file 3,000 cases in one month [Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro did this upon taking on the post of acting ombudsman on May 9].”

What she wants to establish are long-term improvements. “What I aim to do is institute reforms, make an inventory of prosecutors, submit recommendations, get list of officers,” she said.

Opposed by GMA

Carpio-Morales’s nomination to the post was met by strong opposition because, in JBC member Jose Mejia’s words, of the following grounds: “association with Aquino, animosity toward former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her age of  70.”

Carpio-Morales said she does not know Aquino in any capacity, as she only met him when she swore him in as President on June 30, 2010. On her SC decisions against Arroyo, she cited a Newsbreak research which showed that she voted 10 times for the Arroyo administration and 11 times against it.

The 70-year-old former magistrate said that she got a medical clearance proving that she’s still capable of working. Her colleague in the bench, Justice Roberto Abad, also defended her, describing her as “strong as a mountain mule” during her retirement ceremony on June 17.

But there were also those who doubted her independence because her cousin, Justice Antonio Carpio, is one of the founders of Cruz Marcelo & Angangco Law Office, or The Firm, which handles several cases filed at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Carpio-Morales’ reply to this was short but biting: “You cannot choose your relatives. He doesn’t ape me, nor do I ape him.” She added that she would not be influenced by anyone. “You can resist the pressures.”

Carpio-Morales was nominated to the post by retired Judge Dolores Espanol, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alex Quiroz and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal whose members include now retired SC Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura, SC Justice Arturo Brion, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Davao del Sur Rep. Franklin Bautista.

She said that she accepted her nomination, because it was her “sense of duty” to respond to those who believed in her ability enough to recommend her to the position.

As the new Ombudsman, however, Carpio-Morales would be answerable to more than those who pushed for her nomination. She has to meet the expectations of a public disappointed with the Ombudsman’s past performance.

“This insatiable desire to get rich quick in order to satisfy the social expectation attached to one’s status is what drives honest men and women in government service to leave behind their moral core and jump into the bandwagon towards the ravine. The nation must get rid of this phenomenon,” she said in her retirement speech on June 17.—Newsbreak

CATEGORY: Institutions, The Presidency
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  1. Johnny lin says:

    “What is wrong remains wrong”, if PNoy truly believes in this, the first thing he should do tomorrow is
    fire his official photographer. This phrase is similar to the phrase I posted “what is wrong is wrong, right is right” in another thread on the article” I click the shutter” written by the official photographer of President Aquino. The author,Gil Nartia, is currently in an obvious conflict of interest for his own personal fame and fortune. It involves use of government facilities for his personal gain. PNoy in his SONA criticized cups of coffee bought with PAGCOR funds drank by staffers. It is not different from rolls of films or stacks of CDs bought with government funds to be used by his official photographer for his personal dream of photo album of presidential years. Otherwise, PNoy bravado of righteousness is all for show, speech written by his writers he delivered convincingly!

  2. ‘What is wrong remains wrong, regardless of how long it has been allowed to persist.’

    and yet it has persisted for one more year under this guy’s watch…

  3. Just Ties Muna says:

    Pinoy is on the right track in fight for corruption, his next move, we want is judgement/closure of all the cases filed, in short span (in developed country: a high profile case, 3 year is very long).
    I hope Pinoy get the support of the judicial branch, if not he should find ways to revamp the judicial system…in worst case a plebisite to give him power to revamp system.
    TRY THE JURY SYSTEM or choice by judge or jury…….

  4. I am pleased and I totally agree with Pres. Benigno Aquino’s own personal crusade to right the wrong. Filipinos must learn and must know that wickedness, corruption in Government cannot and must not be tolerated by any means. The attitude and the practices of the wicked, influential elites must stop who are the source of social evils and degradation of good governance. From the janitors up to the government employees, bribery is rampant and these employees would not move their butts unless you give money. Respect the rule of law and punish every violators without mercy. Put them to jail. Administrators of the law i.e. judges, etc. must enforce and execute the embodiment of the Constitution and must refrain from bribery and political connections. Reform for a progressive Philippines and weed out all wicked trapos who cannot and will not care for the country but their materialism and life style. I join the new generation of Filipinos who want to see a transparent and responsible Philippine Government. We are all mortals and we must work for the common good. Honesty, integrity, decency, dedication, empathy, and nobility are the qualities of people the Philippine Government needs not Chavit Singson, Gloria Arroyo, Gen. Ligot, Gen. Garcia, Lintang Bedol, Joc-Joc Bolante, Garcillano etc. Long live the Philippines and the Filipino Martyrs.

  5. JollyGypsy says:

    AMEN! ’nuff said!

  6. I apreciate your idealism but it would be difficult to imagine the jury system working in this country- Youhave to assume a minimum level of competence and discernment- unfotunately poverty robs its citizens of judgement- If you have citizens voting for the likes of Lito lapid, Bong Revilla, Tito Sotto, Lilia Pineda. Jalosjos, Ecleo et al then a jury could wasily be bought by these characters. The citizenry just doesn’t have the discernment for informed decisions. I wish I was wrong

  7. GEORGE EVANGELISTA says:

    P-noy should have pressed for Congress’ adoption of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill as a priority bill, a campaign commitment which he has yet to deliver. The enactment of this bill into law would enable citizens to fulfill their role in countering and preventing official corruption. If P-noy horse-trades with vested interests to water down the substance of the FOI bill, he would surely lose the trust of the many Filipinos who had elected him to office and suffer the same sorry fate of his predecessors.

  8. This isn’t idealism. Two or more head is better than one…this will work too, in corruption (more is costly than one and one straight person can cause mistrial…added cost na naman for the accused)
    You are putting down the pinoy masses or unfortunates, given chances/responsibility they succeed. This is proven by OFW when abroad, they excell.
    Jury is “beyond reasonable doubt”; democratic; pluralistic; decision based on logic, common sense, morallity, not on book alone and compasionate on judgement.
    Though expensive, we know justice is priceless. USA spent billions for one guy (Osama Bin Ladin)for the sake of justice.
    For Pinas too progress economically, justice system should be first to fix. God bless us Pinoy.

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