Gutierrez as permanent DOJ secretary pushed
- Aurea Calica () - July 4, 2004 - 12:00am
Department of Justice (DOJ) employees are calling for the permanent appointment of acting Justice Secretary Merceditas Gutierrez.

The employees’ endorsement of Gutierrez for the top DOJ post came in the wake of Deputy Speaker Raul Gonzalez’s announcement that he will take President Arroyo’s "standing offer" for him to be the next justice secretary.

The DOJ Employees Association, as well as state counsels and regional, city and provincial prosecutors sent separate signed manifestos to Mrs. Arroyo, citing Gutierrez’s experience in the department where she rose from the ranks.

Gutierrez has been with the DOJ for 21 years and has served as state counsel, assistant chief state counsel, and then as undersecretary.

The employees said Gutierrez showed concern for them since she herself came from the rank and file. The state counsels lauded Gutierrez’s "uprightness and fairness" in her decisions and said she should be allowed to continue instituting reforms in the DOJ.

"In her short stint as acting secretary of justice, she has shown exemplary competence and it was, in fact, through her leadership that our clamor for an increase in salary and allowances became a reality through Republic Act 9279," the prosecutors said in their manifesto.

The prosecutors also cited Gutierrez’s "accomplishments and unblemished reputation," as well as her institution of reforms to speed up the resolution of cases, as the reasons why she should be allowed to continue serving as justice secretary.

DOJ prosecutors and employees said Gutierrez’s cost-cutting measures helped the department save more than P500,000 on electricity, water and telephone bills during her short stint as secretary and that more privileges and non-monetary benefits were given to them.

The anti-crime watchdog Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, led by Dante Jimenez, also endorsed Gutierrez for being a non-politician and a true practitioner of law.

Gonzalez, whose term as congressman expired on June 30, said the President offered him the position of justice secretary in January but told him to postpone taking it until after he has helped her in the canvassing of votes for president and vice president.

DANTE JIMENEZ DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DEPUTY SPEAKER RAUL GONZALEZ EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION GUTIERREZ JUSTICE SECRETARY MERCEDITAS GUTIERREZ MRS. ARROYO PRESIDENT ARROYO REPUBLIC ACT VOLUNTEERS AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION
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