Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Sleeping Watchdog

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been receiving flak for the past couple of years or so. I would have to say the flak is not undeserved.
The Ombudsman Act is clear on the Ombudsman's mandate:
Section 13. Mandate. - The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against officers or employees of the government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and enforce their administrative, civil and criminal liability in every case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient service by the Government to the people.
As such, the office is given a wide latitude on how to prosecute a case. The Supreme Court even held that the Ombudsman can act based solely on an anonymous letter (as opposed to a criminal action against a private person, in which witnesses' affidavits are needed in order for a complaint to prosper).
If the Ombudsman can investigate a person based merely on an anonymous tip, more so can it act on a full report given by an international organization, right?
Among Gutierrez's shortcomings is its lack of action on the World Bank report about the rigging of WB-funded road projects. It gets even more damning as the report was already given to the office of the Ombudsman as early as May 2006, as Malaya has reported. If that is the case, what was done about it? A report served on a silver platter, and all the Ombudsman had to do was follow the trail. But nothing is apparently done about it. Nada, Zilch. Zip. Ditto for the other seemingly obvious graft cases i.e. ZTE-NBN deal and the Fertilizer Fund.
As the saying goes: ang pinakammahirap gisinging ay ang nagtutulog-tulugan.
Photo: tomsaint11, Flicr, Creative Commons

No comments:

Post a Comment

Custom Search