CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/23 March) – President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, in a meeting with some 500 leaders of people’s and civil society organization leaders here, expressed his resolve in wanting Ombudsman Merciditas Gutierrez impeached.
Speaking at the Pilgrim Christian College auditorium, President PNoy said that as soon as the facts of the plea bargain agreement entered by the Ombudsman with Gen. Carlos Garcia’s plunder case became clear to him, he became very convinced on the need to impeach the Gutierrez.
“Eh, di ko maintindihan bakit they entered the plea bargain agreement for the plunder case in exchange for returning P120 million to the government, when in fact one only needs to steal from government P50 million to be charged for plunder,” PNoy said.
“It is sending the message na okay magnakaw sa kaban ng bayan, pagkatapos, hati tayo sa ninakaw na pera in a plea bargain agreement,” the President said to the approving uproar of the jampacked audience.
Aquino was here in the city for the first time to inaugurate projects in Misamis Oriental, meet with the Regional Development Council, CSOs and his election supporters.
The President has been credited and also criticized for influence peddling in Congress, a co-equal branch of government, to impeach Gutierrez in the House of Representatives. “Ginagalang po natin ang constitutional processes like impeachment, pero kahit naman po Presidente ako ngayon, may karapatan din ako bilang isang Pilipino,” PNoy said.
The House of Representatives voted 212-46 Monday to impeach Gutierrez on six cases of betrayal of public trust. The Articles of Impeachment was transmitted today to the Senate which will hear the case as an Impeachment Court.
Civil society organizations have also presented a long list of issues, mainly focusing on corruption in the regional offices of the Bureau of Customs and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board.
Aquino said he would immediately look into the allegations and promised that if he finds the allegations with basis, heads will roll.
The President also reiterated that he has instructed government lawyers to prepare many cases of corruption against government employees before the Ombudsman, but added that the filing of cases will only be done when Gutierrez is gone. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)