Abuse of discretion


Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, through her counsel, ought to be ashamed about her claim that she is a victim of “abuse of discretion” when the House justice committee voted that the two impeachment complaints filed against her were “sufficient in form and substance”. If there is anybody who is consistently guilty of “abuse of discretion,” that could only be Gutierrez herself. Under her watch, the Ombudsman has become a tool for oppression. At the same time, it turned into a citadel where corrupt officials during the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo presidency took refuge.

The oppressive nature of Gutierrez was manifested in the grossly unfair resolutions she handed down against public officials considered “enemies” of the Arroyo admnistration and “small fry” like P/Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza. The list of victims is long. Then Makati City mayor, now Vice President, Jejomar Binay is one. Former Cavite Governor (now Rep.) Ayong Maliksi is another.

But there is one former local chief executive whose name Gutierrez can now never forget: Niel Tupas Sr., governor of Iloilo for nine years, and survivor of the infamous Iloilo Capitol siege on January 17, 2007. Gov. Tupas stands out as a lightning rod for the “fury” of the Ombudsman, having the singular distinction of being dismissed from the job twice (but the orders never got to be implemented).

A quick look at the list will reveal that nobody associated with Arroyo ever got indicted. The cases against them were even dismissed, or just lay buried in the archives of the agency. The Ombudsman became an enforcer for the Arroyo administration, a tool for oppression to keep everybody in line. Play by the rules, and you don’t get kicked in the butt — That was the way the Ombudsman worked under Gutierrez. And “abuse of discretion” is a good way to describe the way she ran the agency.

Hence, I find it disgusting that among all possible excuses, Gutierrez would pick “abuse of discretion” to justify her cause. Under the circumstances, it would be tantamount of “abuse of discretion” if the impeachment case against her would not now be allowed to proceed.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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