Merci impeached without Mercy

March 22: Breakdown of House votes on impeachment: 212-yes, 46-no, 4-abstain. Check the list of representatives.

Tupas earlier said a vote for Gutierrez’s impeachment was a vote for reform.

“It means it’s not business as usual. A no vote or being absent would mean the same thing which is business as usual, unless of course there’s a justification for being absent,”

Tupas said the House members voting on whether Gutierrez should be impeached would be making history by expressing the voice of the people.

He said it was the first time in the history of Congress since 1935 that the impeachment process had been completed in the House—votes on form, substance, grounds, probable cause and, finally, plenary voting recommending an impeachment.

March 21: Today is the day. Here is the Committee report on Ombudsman Impeachment

The vote on whether to impeach Merceditas Gutierrez today, March 21, will be a verdict not so much on the Ombudsman but on the real power that the new ruling party now wields in the House of Representatives.

Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tañada III urged his colleagues in the House of Representatives to “make a crucial stand against corruption” and vote in favor of the Resolution of the Committee on Justice containing the Articles of Impeachment of the Ombudsman.

The passage of the resolution will trigger the formation of an impeachment court to hear and decide the case, and where Rep. Tañada probably also act as prosecutor.

“The Ombudsman is being accused of betrayal of public trust, which is basically a violation of her oath of office. That oath is a sacred pact with the people, and it is on their behalf that we are holding the Ombudsman to her word.” Tañada said.

“After all, no one but the Ombudsman spoke the words swearing to stop corruption, especially in the public sector. She did so freely; no one forced her. We, as the representatives of the people, only want to collect on those promises,” he added.

According to the Deputy Speaker, “the continuation in office of one so obviously ineffective at performing her basic function of ferreting out corruption is an albatross on the government” that cannot rid itself of the undesirable elements in its rank “because its corrective mechanism is deliberately being broken.”

“The Ombudsman is basically the feedback, troubleshooting and corrective mechanism of our system of democratic government,” Tañada explained. “The Constitution created that office precisely to answer the problem of corruption. If that tool fails, so will the ability of the government to check itself.”

Asked to comment on whether it would not be better to just wait for the retirement of the Ombudsman in December 2012, Tañada replied with a firm “no.” “How can we, in good conscience, wait another two years while corruption continues to rot the ranks of public service and slowly destroy the moral fiber of our society?”

“Can we make accountability wait? I think not. Can we can say to the farmers, OFWs, and fishermen who badly need the protection of our government coffers, that we intend to let another two years pass before we stop giving them the excuse that we have no money to tend to their needs, to send them home from war, to give them seeds to plant and protect the waters where they fish?”

Tañada reminded his colleagues that “the vote today will reflect the individual member’s position on transparency and accountability in government.”

“There can be no middle ground,” Tañada asserted. “The lines have been drawn, and everyone needs to take sides. Those with us are for accountability, and against corruption. Those against us can join the Ombudsman and start thinking of an escape route, because the people will get to them, too.” #

Here is an infographic on Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez

NOTABLE CASES HANDLED BY THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN FROM 2005-2010 DURING THE ARROYO ADMINISTRATION

Reasons for Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez Impeachment- Visual Display of Cases

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