'Impeach me,' Ombudsman dares critics

MANILA, Philippines – Exasperated by repeated allegations of “selective justice,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Wednesday, July 1, challenged her critics to initiate impeachment proceedings against her.

Morales hurled the challenge as she responded to questions on her suspension order against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr, who stepped down that day, as another alleged case of the Ombudsman's “selective justice.” 

E wala nang tamang ginawa ang Ombudsman e. Palagi ‘nyo akong kinukuwestiyon. (It seems the Ombudsman is not doing anything right. I’m always being questioned.) If you feel I am impeachable because I have done wrong, do so. I welcome it. I don’t have to be impeached. I will  give my position on a  silver platter,” a visibly irked Morales said.

She added: “Nabubuwisit na talaga ako, ha. Everytime I file a case, sasabihin ‘nyo, politically motivated. I am apolitical. Wala akong pinapanigan (I am really getting vexed. Everytime I file a case, you’ll say, it’s politically motivated. I am apolitical. I am neutral)."

Responding to questions, she denied suspicions that the Aquino administration has influenced the Ombudsman’s decisions regarding cases involving Mayor Binay, the subject of two suspension orders from her office in connection with two alleged overpriced buildings in Makati.

“I have always decided cases in accordance with the law and in accordance with the evidence. I had emphasized that before. We go by the evidence. Hindi puwedeng mape-pressure ka (You can’t be pressured). Otherwise, I have no reason for being here if I allow myself to be pressured by other people. That’s not true,” she said.

Morales said it was just “coincidental” that she issued the suspension order against the mayor days after Vice President Jejomar Binay resigned from the Cabinet.

She said the Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss from the service former Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima, among other police officers, is “another argument against criticism lodged with the Ombudsman that there is selective justice in their office.”  (READ: Ombudsman sacks Purisima, 10 others from PNP)

Purisima is a close friend of President Benigno Aquino III.

Morales also cited the Ombudsman move to file a case against another Aquino ally, former Customs chief and Muntinlupa representative Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon over the PDAF scam. (READ: Ombudsman to file cases vs ERC chief, Biazon, other ex-congressmen)

No fear

She said her office is guided by rules in making decisions, and not by external forces.

“If we believe that the complainant is wrong and the respondents gave the right answer, that’s the time we resolve it in favor of the respondent. Pero ngayon, sa tingin namin very strong, napakalakas ng evidence against the respondents, so ano ang gagawin namin, matutulala, matatakot? No way!” Morales said.

(If we believe that the complainant is wrong and the respondents gave the right answer, that’s the time we resolve it in favor of the respondent. But now, we think that the evidence against the respondents is very strong, what do we do then? Stare blankly into space? Get intimidated? No way!)

She said the speed in the Ombudsman’s investigation of cases is dependent on the “complexity of the issue, and the accessibility of the evidence.”

Asked whether she felt any pressure from the public, and netizens, in particular, whenever she made decisions, Morales, who just turned 74, just said, “I know that whatever decision I made, I receive comments from netizens... [and] most of the comments of netizens are supportive of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman trended on Twitter around noontime, or the time of her news conference. – Rappler.com