Friday, October 29, 2010

Office of the Ombudsman spearheads anti-graft fight with highest prosecution rate

I've been critical of the Office of the Ombudsman before, not for anything else, but seriously, due to its politics. Many, including this writer, perceived the appointment of Merceditas Gutierrez by former president Arroyo as a political accommodation rather than a judicious executive decision. Her ties with the First Gentleman smacked of politics. Her previous involvement in corporate affairs rather than her years of prosecutory experience, for some, are signs of her lack of qualifications for the post.


Yet, for the past few years, the Office of the Ombudsman registered a very strong prosecution rate--nearly 60%, which if compared with other anti-graft or prosecution agencies of this government stands mightily high, cannot be ignored that easily. Since 2008, the Office of the Ombudsman, particularly its field offices have been quite successful in bringing to justice, scores of erring government and private individuals who have toyed with the idea of making the public coffers their own personal vaults. Curiously, even international anti-graft bodies have cited the best performance of the Office of the Ombudsman in the field not just of investigation, but of filing these graft cases against erring officials as well. 


What is so surprising even is the way Gutierrez handles even the administrative functions of her office. Sources say, employees of the Ombudsman will fight to the death should enemies of Gutierrez successfully yank her out of her current post. Employees gave Gutierrez their full trust and confidence. The entire office is in a very high state of morale due to the very good handling of affairs by Gutierrez and her trusted generals.


Whatever your politics is, the fact remains that one's competency lies not on perceived political ties but on what you do. If you were able to transform a government office like the Ombudsman into a fighting machine, and resolves graft cases left and right despite your meager resources and your undermanned, then, you must be commended rather than villified all because of differing political beliefs. 


Gutierrez's office, for all intents and purposes, should be supported by the People instead of villified.


Yes, I've been highly critical before but my criticism ends when the government agency concern starts reforming itself and begins walking the straight road. 


When one sees the office trying very hard to rectify itself and in fact, registers the highest prosecution rate, why criticize when there is really none to fuss about.