Ombudsman is not beholden to any person – De Jesus

May 19, 2010 8:05 pm 

MANILA, May 19 – "Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez is not beholden to any person or entity. Her fealty is to the Constitution, good governance and the law alone."

This was the reaction on Wednesday of Assistant Ombudsman Jose de Jesus Jr. to reports questioning the Ombudsman's independence and term of office.

De Jesus said the Ombudsman will be supportive of all the public officials, reelected or newly-elected, for as long as they espouse good and clean government.

However, he said that the Ombudsman will "remain steadfast in bringing to task those who would betray the public trust and commit graft and corruption."

De Jesus emphasized that the Ombudsman will continue to be fair and even-handed, making sure that justice will be done only on the basis of facts, evidence, law and jurisprudence.

"It is understandable that, by the nature of her work, she would be stepping on the toes of very powerful people or entities that would do whatever they can to do her in. But nobody can bring a good servant down," he said.

De Jesus also explained that under Section 11, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman has a fixed term of seven years.

He said that this issue has already been brought up before and appropriately answered.

De Jesus advised those who insist that Ombudsman Gutierrez's term was up already to raise the same before the proper forum and not make a play out of it in the media.

"And if the competent authority should say that her term has indeed ended, they can be sure she will abide and comply with the verdict, if that is so declared," De Jesus said.

Otherwise, he said, the Ombudsman will continue to perform her task as protector of the people, a sacred and firm crusade she will fulfill and carry through up to the end of her term in 2012. (PNA) scs/PTR

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