After President Aquino’s announcement of her selection as the new Ombudsman during his 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, Morales took her oath of office in Malacañang at 1 pm. Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad, and House justice committee chair Niel Tupas Jr. were all present to witness the oath taking rite.
The new Ombudsman, who was accompanied by her husband Eugenio Morales and sons Eugenio Morales III and Umberto Morales on the ceremony, earlier said that the first thing she will do when she assumes office is to check on the status of cases, and make an inventory of cases and personnel under her office to be able to introduce necessary alterations. She pointed out she will not allow delay in the disposition of graft cases and said she would order a re-orientation of special prosecutors straightaway. Carpio-Morales also claimed she will be an independent Ombudsman.
When asked, Carpio-Morales previously noted she is not afraid of filing cases against Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“I cannot tell you (when we will be filing a case against former President Arroyo) because we go by evidence. You just do not file a case for the heck of filing,”
“You have to go through the records, testimonial and documents and see if the evidence is strong.”, she said as quoted by a report of philstar.com.
Carpio-Morales is due to face the task of resolving at least three plunder complaints filed against Rep. Arroyo when she assumes the post. In another report posted by abs-cbn, she noted “What message do you want me to tell her?…I have always said we always go by the evidence…I don’t have a history of vindictiveness,”.
Meanwhile, Pres. Aquino is positive about the new Ombudsman and has full confidence that she will be doing her duty in pursuing corrupt officials. In his SONA last Monday, the President mentioned in Filipino,
“When the new Ombudsman, former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, takes office, we will have an honest-to-goodness anti-corruption office, not one that condones the corruption and abuses in government. I expect that this year, we will have filed our first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices. And these will be real cases, with strong evidence and clear testimonies, which will lead to the punishment of the guilty.”
In his previous statements, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Laceirda said, “We have consistently emphasized the need to have an ombudsman who shall act for and in the interest of the Filipino people, one who shall not let Garcias and Bolantes go scot free without answering to the people.”,
“An ombudsman must be independent, one of unquestionable integrity, and willing to face the rigorous task of restoring faith in our recovering institutions by ensuring that the corrupt are held accountable for their misdeeds,”
“Her integrity and impartiality are evident from her years as presiding judge of the Court of Appeals and associate justice of the Supreme Court,” as quoted by the same report of philstar.
Ombudsman Morales replaced Merceditas Gutierrez resigned on April 29 due to complaints of failing to act on various corruption cases against the previous administration. Gutierrez has been closely identified with Rep. Arroyo.
Other photos by Jay Morales and Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau