Ombudsman ‘babied’ the corrupt

Anti-corruption advocates label the Arroyos, Abalos, Garcia, Bolante, and Neri as “Merci’s babies”

“Hindi bine-baby ang corruption.”

This was the statement issued today by the Oust Merceditas Gutierrez (OMG!) movement as it conducted a creative action in front of the Office of the Ombudsman to press for the removal of Gutierrez from public office.

Dubbed as “Merci’s babies”, the anti-corruption advocates brought baby strollers and baby dolls to represent the “babying” done by the ombudsman against big-time corrupt public officials. The group donned the baby dolls to represent corrupt personalities “coddled” by the ombudsman, which includes the Arroyo family, former Commission on Elections Chairperson Benjur Abalos, former Major General Carlos Garcia, former Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante and former National Economic Development Authority Secretary Romulo Neri.

“Merci is guilty of providing excessive and inappropriate care and consideration to plunderers and corrupt officials. This is especially true during the Arroyo administration. The ombudsman ‘babied’ the Arroyo family and their cronies,” said former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, who attended the activity.

Hontiveros pointed to the unresolved corruption cases such as the ZTE-NBN scandal, the fertilizer scam and the Garcia plunder charge as some of the consequences attributed to Gutierrez’s “political mollycoddling” of corrupt public officials.

“The public must be constantly reminded of these issues. Corruption remains one of our major problems because the person tasked to defend the people from the corrupt became its very protector,” Hontiveros said.

OMG is confident that change will happen soon at the ombudsman’s office. The group said “recent developments” proved that Gutierrez’s “castle is collapsing.”

“Ang opisina ng ombudsman na ginawa ni Merci na palasyo ng mga corrupt ay unti-unti ng gumuguho. Iniiwan na siya na mga alipores niya. Galit na rin ang taumbayan. The message is clear. No more pampering of erring public officials. Dahil ang corruption ay hindi bine-baby kundi pinupuksa,” Hontiveros concluded.

Last week, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni resigned from his post after three complaints were filed against him for usurpation of official functions and authority. It was reported that Jalandoni was a close aide of Gutierrez and was often referred to as the “little ombudsman.”