The ombudsman & political persecution
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - February 14, 2018 - 12:00am

A happy but a wet Valentine's Day today as we expect that tropical storm "Basyang" (international code name "Sanma) will hit south of Cebu City, which means Metro Cebu will be drenched today. Well and good that today is also Ash Wednesday and therefore for Catholics, it is a day of fasting and abstinence. I just hope that the winds that "Basyang" will bring will not be as strong as expected and that by tomorrow, this tropical storm will already exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

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I placed all my photos taken during the visit of Pres. Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte in my Facebook page, but the photo that I posted with Philippine National Police Chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa together with PNP Regional Director Joel Doria got the most comments as I only discussed one issue with Gen. Bato and he was sort of taken aback that the issue I brought to his attention was the enforcement of the anti-noise laws. The PNP chief immediately ordered Regional Director Doria to enforce these laws, which to my mind was sort of heaven sent!

Mind you, this is a nationwide problem because the few people who run those discorrals do not seem to care if they disturb your peace and quiet. In the US, even if you turned on your stereo to full volume, you can bet that your neighbors will complain and call the police to stop you. In the Philippines, the police seem inutile in enforcing this law. But now PNP Regional Director Doria has the marching orders from the PNP chief to stop discorrals from disturbing the peace in the neighborhood. Next is for the Land Transportation Office to enforce this anti-noise law.

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The big news yesterday came from the Office of the Ombudsman who dismissed Deputy Speaker Gwen F. Garcia purportedly for grave misconduct for the purchase of the Balili property. I don't know why it took the Ombudsman years to make this decision. In the end as the legal maxim goes, "Qui iustitiam moratur iustitiam negat;" he who delays justice denies justice.

For the record, the Court of Appeals already nullified and set aside the Ombudsman's finding of guilt against Rep. Gwen Garcia way back in April 2014 and when the Ombudsman sought a motion for reconsideration, this was denied by the CA.  So what gives? This case also reminds me of the case of Rep. Rodrigo "Bebot" Abellanosa who was also dismissed from public service by the Ombudsman, but somehow a deal was struck and today Rep. Abellanosa is still in Congress.

Right after the big breaking news of the Rep. Garcia's dismissal by the Office of the Ombudsman, no less than House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez told the press that he would not implement the Ombudsman's dismissal order saying, "Because there is nothing in the Constitution that allows me to do that. In fact it is not within the power of the Ombudsman to discipline, much more to remove any member of the House of Representatives. If I dismiss Rep. Garcia, I would be violating the Constitution."

I can understand why Deputy Speaker Garcia feels that she has been singled out by the Ombudsman because she was very visible and very vocal during the impeachment hearings for Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. As we all know Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Chief Justice Sereno have one thing in common; yellow blood flows in their veins. Yes, both of them were appointed during the previous Aquino regime and when push comes to shove, these folks have to scratch each other's backs.

Knowing how fiercely vocal Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia was in the impeachment proceedings for the chief justice, the Ombudsman must have been thinking ahead that when it is her time to be investigated by the House impeachment committee, she too would be answerable to likes of Rep. Gwen Garcia. So it is better to destroy her now while she still has the power to do so. But like what we already said earlier, Gwen was already cleared by the Court of Appeals in its 2014 ruling. Finally, I have written so many earlier columns seeking the impeachment of the Ombudsman and now you know why Conchita Carpio-Morales should be impeached because she is using her position for personal and political persecution!


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