12 May 2011

Distrusting the System: On Ombudsman Merci Gutierrez' resignation

The resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez from her position has already made the news. This is all the more interesting since the resignation is made on the eve of the impeachment proceedings in the Senate.

Reactions from the internet has been mostly of relief, that Merci at least had the decency to spare the government and the public from the ills and pains of a protracted trial, to calls for PNoy to appoint a “better” Ombudsman.

My reaction is one of disappointment, not for her, or for the trial, but for the country. When forces of media and pure politics trump legal processes, can we still claim to be a bastion of democracy? When cynicism and distrust of the system is from those who have the means to wage a full-on legal defense, can ordinary citizens then still trust the system? This is not to say that I am in favor of Omb. Gutierrez, and that I believe her innocence. Her guilt or innocence is something to be established in a competent court, which never materialized in her case. Do note however, that in the articles of impeachment, the charges only constitute a lack of speed in acting on cases, and NEVER was there any charge accusing former Omb. Merceditas Gutierrez. She was slow, yes. But corrupt? Apparently it is not part of the accusations. See for yourself here.

What this ultimately entails is that the system is not working. The rule of law is nonexistent, and apparently, it is the rule of men- specifically, the rule of He Who Resides by the River- that prevails.

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Some quarters theorize that with Merci gone, it is Chief Justice Corona next. PNoy promised to go after GMA, and ultimately, whatever legal actions to be taken against GMA will be ruled upon by the Supreme Court, thus it is imperative for PNoy’s agenda to win over the Supreme Court Justices. This is all the more concerning, as the Chief Justice has exercised his power to ask Malacanang to comment on EO 13. Blogger Pinoy Solutions even speculated that it is the power of the purse and the power of mass media that the Yellow Administration can wield to influence the Supreme Court Justices over to their cause.

My thought on this matter is one of repulsion. The Constitution directs the Supreme Court of the land to dispense justice fairly to all, without fear or favor. This is the reason why Lady Justice is depicted as blindfolded, for Justice should be applied equally to all, otherwise, to none at all. To even propose that the Supreme Court be swayed with the power of the purse and the pressure of the mass media is an affront to the concept of justice as it should function in a democracy.

President Noynoy should do well to stop politicizing everything and instead focus on economic solutions. This is not to say that GMA should be let off the hook, if indeed there is substantial evidence to institute proper criminal proceedings- but having the energies of the current administration focused on seeing GMA behind bars is such a waste of time and effort. Their energies should be better used in eradicating poverty and lifting up the general welfare of the people. What good is one former president jailed, if the rest of the country burns? This would show more and more that the system as it is running right now is not to be trusted, and if this continues to spiral, then I am afraid that it may lead to civil unrest, if not anarchy.


About the Author


I am a law student, BPO employee, amateur photographer, airsofter, wannabe surfer, and armchair political pundit, yearning for that one big chance to prove myself and my abilities, and hopefully, contribute to nation-building as well.