Republic of the Philippines
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City
STATEMENT OF OMBUDSMAN MERCEDITAS N. GUTIERREZ
April 29, 2011
This morning at 10:30 a.m. I personally went to Malacanang to meet with our
President, His Excellency Benigno Aquino III, to tender my resignation. I thank
the President for graciously accommodating me on very short notice, and for all
the kind words he said to me.
In almost four decades of devoting my life to government service, I have always
been guided by the precepts that the public and moral responsibilities of public
officials transcend all other considerations. It is in accordance with these
principles that I have strived and persevered to build and maintain an
unblemished record in public service. For me, this is the greatest and lasting
legacy that I can leave my family, my children and my children’s children.
Since September of last year, I have been subjected to impeachment proceedings
which seek my removal as the Ombudsman. I have been charged with allegedly
betraying the public trust which was vested in me when I assumed office in
December of 2005 – this because I allegedly slept and failed to act promptly on
cases of national concern.
Because of my strong belief in the falsity of the charges leveled against me, I
was firm and resolute that I shall participate in the impeachment trial before
the Senate and prove to the Filipino people that the allegations against me are
untrue, as they are groundless. I felt that I owed it to the people and the
Office of the Ombudsman to vindicate and protect the integrity and independence
of the institution. I also believed that in the Senate, I shall receive a
verdict that would come only after the presentation of credible witnesses and
evidence, unswayed by any kind of pressure, whether open or subtle, in
proceedings that are devoid of histrionics that might detract from its basic aim
to ferret out the truth and decreed by the cold neutrality of Senator-jurors.
In the past weeks, it has become evident to me that the vilification thrown at
me by my detractors will go on as it has, since September of last year. I have
withstood all these with the hope that I can assuage myself with the balm of a
clear conscience and a verdict of not guilty by the Senate.
I wanted to face my accusers whatever the personal agony it would have involved.
But the interests of my family, my Office, and more importantly the nation, must
always come before any personal considerations.
I have not shirked in the face of pressure, have never been cowed into
submission, have never been influenced other than by truth and justice. To
leave before the end of my term in December 2012 is abhorrent to me. But as a
government official, I must place first and foremost the interests of the
Nation, the interest of my Office, and as a mother and wife, my family. The
problems besetting our country demand a full-time Ombudsman and a full time
Congress, both Senate and the House of Representatives. To fight through the
months ahead for my personal vindication would, as it is, almost absorb my time
The impeachment proceedings have consumed not only the members of the House of
Representatives and the Senate, but the Chief Executive of the land as well.
At a time when the present administration is in its infancy and beset with more
urgent problems, the last thing that the nation needs is for the House and the
Senate to be embroiled in a long drawn-out impeachment proceeding against a
single public official. The President needs an Ombudsman in whom he has complete
trust and confidence. To carry on my battle to cleanse my name before the Senate
would detract from the time which could otherwise be devoted to legislative work
which would address the needs of millions of Filipino people.
By tendering my resignation effective May 6, 2011, I hope we can now all focus
on the impelling problems of our people rather than expending so much time,
effort and resources to remove me from public office.
I will also be turning over immediately the day to day affairs to the Overall
Deputy Ombudsman, and pray that we all give him our full support.
As I leave the Office of the Ombudsman, however, it is my fervent hope that the
misconception bred that having been appointed to public office by former
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, I owed my allegiance to her and am
accountable only to her, and not to the Filipino people and the Constitution be
discarded and laid to rest. While I acknowledge with deep gratitude the
opportunity given me by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, my undivided
loyalty always was, is, and will forever remain, to the Constitution and the
Filipino people. In the words of the late Chief Justice Earl Warren of the
United States Supreme Court, judicial officers like me have no constituency,
serve no majority or minority but serve only the public interest as they see it
in accordance with their oath of office, guided only by the Constitution and
their conscience and honor.
To those who have stood with during these difficult months, to my family, my
friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed
I was innocent, I will be eternally grateful.
And to my detractors, I bear them no rancor because I have learned to make
myself believe that we all love our country and our people no matter how our
judgments might differ.
I shall leave this Office with regret at not completing my term, but with
gratitude for the privilege of serving as Ombudsman for the past five years. I
thank my colleagues at the Office of the Ombudsman whose continuous and selfless
but unpublished efforts have made the Office of the Ombudsman what it is today.
Not many know that for many years, the Office of the Ombudsman has consistently
been voted the most trusted institution in the Philippines. That is all your
stellar achievement. I stand proud of having worked with you through these
years. And while our detractors will always find cause to criticize and charge
delay in what we do, it is because we deem it better to accord due process to
our own public officials whose lives we affect when we decide on their cases.
God bless the Philippines and our people.