Noy vows new phase in anti-corruption drive
- Delon Porcalla, Ding Cervantes () - July 15, 2011 - 12:00am

CLARK, Pampanga, Philippines – After personally screening two nominees for the position of ombudsman, President Aquino declared yesterday that the “final chapter” of his crusade against corruption is bearing fruit with the indictment of ranking officials of the previous administration.

“In our fight against corruption, we are approaching what we can consider the final chapter. We will file appropriate charges and will do our best to secure conviction and prison terms for the guilty,” Aquino said in Filipino before officials and members of the Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches gathered here for the group’s 29th Biennial National Assembly. “This will be complicated,” he added, referring to the filing of cases.

Aquino did not name names but he was apparently referring to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo against whom a case of plunder was filed early this week before the Office of the Ombudsman by Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares. The case stemmed from the alleged anomalous disbursement of more than P300 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds. Arroyo’s co-accused in the plunder case is former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte.

Aquino said earlier he was personally reviewing the credentials of two candidates for ombudsman. Sources said the two were retired Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales and Presidential Commission on Good Government commissioner Gerard Mosquera.

The other nominees are former justice secretary Artemio Tuquero, who is said to be endorsed by the Iglesia ni Cristo; and Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento.

“We’re not being personal. We believe that until someone is jailed, we might as well tell them to make sure they steal big and let the good times roll. No, we will not allow that,” he said to a loud applause from the crowd.

“My only guiding principle is, at the end of the day, what have you done for others? My answer is, I did my best,” Aquino said.

He earlier said his administration would go full blast with the filing of cases against the former president and her allies only after the appointment of the next ombudsman.

“Again, we don’t want to file a case that is half-cooked, and we prefer that there is already a permanent ombudsman in place,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

“We will file our cases when there’s evidence to do so; when evidence warrants, not based on innuendos, half-truths and propaganda. We are continuing to gather evidence, and when they are complete, we will file the necessary criminal actions against them, when so warranted,” he said.

AQUINO ARTEMIO TUQUERO BAYAN MUNA BIENNIAL NATIONAL ASSEMBLY EDWIN LACIERDA EVANGELICAL CHURCHES GERARD MOSQUERA GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO GOOD GOVERNMENT JUSTICE UNDERSECRETARY LEAH ARMAMENTO
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