SC must clarify Morales tenure as Ombudsman

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD, she does not draw near to her God. Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning…” (Zephania 3:1-3, the Holy Bible).


OMBUDSMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO SAY WHETHER MORALES CAN BE A STATE WITNESS OR NOT: Now, let’s get this over with: transforming Janet Lim Napoles as a witness for the government in connection with the theft, stealing, and plunder if you may, of hundreds of billions of pesos as pork barrel of congressmen and senators, and even of President Benigno Aquino III, must be conformed to first by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales because it becomes a reality.

Under the present system where criminal cases for graft and corruption or plunder involve a government official in the discharge of his or her official functions, it is the Ombudsman which has the exclusive right to investigate and prosecute them, and to determine who would be its witnesses to pin down the accused in those cases.

There is no other government agency which possesses this power granted to the Ombudsman—not even the Department of Justice, the Office of the Solicitor General, or any other government lawyer can exercise this right, power, and jurisdiction of the Ombudsman insofar as criminal cases involving government officials are concerned. At this point, however, Morales already said she will not allow Napoles to be a state witness.


OPTIONS FOR DUTERTE GOV’T ON NAPOLES: So, where does this leave the Duterte government which is obviously conducting negotiations with Napoles so she can become a witness who will finger other government officials who may have committed diversion of government funds in the nature of congressional or presidential pork barrel?

There are several options. The first, of course, is impeaching Morales. But this is a dead alternative now, considering the inability of those who want to impeach her, like the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), to convince even just a single congressman to endorse their impeachment complaint last Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

The second is to talk to her, and persuade her to resign now. Unfortunately, however, this is similarly a dead option, since it is highly unlikely that Morales will agree to resign, unless of course, someone, somewhere, makes her an offer she cannot refuse, in the nature of the offers usually made by Mafiosi bosses during their heydays.


SC MUST CLARIFY MORALES TENURE AS OMBUDSMAN: The third option is to simply wait until her supposed seven-year term is over in 2018, which is actually just a matter of months by now. In the meantime, however, it can happen that in the run-up to 2018, those who know they could be dragged to court after Morales steps down from office in 2018 would already be out of the country by that time.

There could actually be a fourth option, and it is the filing of a petition in the Supreme Court, to contest her continuing in office beyond 2012 (yes, 2012). It is like this: when Morales was appointed in 2011, her appointment was merely as a replacement of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who resigned from her position.

Because of this, Morales was to occupy the position of Ombudsman for only one year, or up to 2012 only, because by 2011, Gutierrez had already served six years of her seven-year term. Since Morales was appointed merely to replace Gutierrez, she, Morales, was only assuming the remaining year of Gutierrez’ term, so that she should have stopped being Ombudsman in 2012. The Supreme Court can clarify this for all of us now!


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