OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales said politicians with cases before her office should stop claiming political harassment as the people are not gullible to believe their claim and that this kind of lame defense surely won’t stand in court.
“Stop giving the public the impression that you are being politically persecuted. It is the other way around. Every peso lost to corruption means less free medicines for indigent patients in government hospitals and health centers, less textbooks and classrooms in public schools, and less food packs for victims of natural disasters,” Carpio said as she stressed that it is “the Filipino people who are the real victims whenever corrupt public officials steal money.”
Carpio noted that political harassment has become the standard “public relations” defense of politicians charged with graft and corruption or plunder.
Morales said her office does not distinguish whether it is election period or look at the party affiliation of the politician allegedly involved in corruption.
“We decide only on the basis of evidence. After careful and objective evaluation of the evidence gathered, we immediately file cases, if warranted. We are oblivious of the timing of the filing of cases in courts, just as corrupt public officials steal public money every time an opportunity comes. Fighting corruption is a 24/7 job. We file plunder or graft cases as soon as we are done with a thorough and impartial investigation. The Office will not be deterred by propaganda and threats in doing our job. As I have said in the past, fighting corruption is the reason for my life,” Morales said.
Accused of “selective justice” by its detractors, the Office of the Ombudsman is indeed selective, Morales said.
“Yes, we are selective because Republic Act No. 6770 (the Ombudsman’s charter) mandates us to prioritize cases against high ranking government officials, complaints involving grave offenses, as well as complaints involving large sums of money or properties or those against big-time plunderers. We are selective because we dismiss cases when evidence is not sufficient. In some cases, we are even constrained to dismiss administrative cases against elected officials because the abandonment of the condonation doctrine is prospective according to the 10 November 2015 decision of the Supreme Court,” Morales explained.
Furthermore, Morales expressed satisfaction that the public is noticing and appreciating the hard work that her office is doing.
“We are pleased that the general public appreciates our efforts to end corruption,” Morales said.
She cited the Bilang Pilipino SWS Mobile Survey conducted on March 28, 2016 where more than half of respondents expressed “much trust” in the Office of the Ombudsman. The respondents also gave the constitutional body a net trust rating of +49.
The SWS said the trust rating for the Office of the Ombudsman was “Very Good” (+50 to +69) in Balance Luzon (outside Metro Manila ) and the Visayas, while it was “Good” (+30 to +49) everywhere else.