Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has told politicians who have pending cases before her office to stop crying political persecution, saying her office decides cases based only on evidence.
“The Filipino people are the real victims whenever corrupt public officials steal money,” Morales said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
She also told politicians with cases before her office, “Stop giving the public the impression that you are being politically persecuted. It is the other way around. Every peso lost to corruption means less free medicines for indigent patients in government hospitals and health centers, less textbooks and classrooms in public schools, and less food packs for victims of natural disasters.”
The Ombudsman noted that alleged political harassment has become “the standard ‘public relations’ defense” of politicians facing corruption charges.
But Morales, a former Supreme Court justice, said this claim will not stand in court and that the public is not gullible to believe it.
She added that her office does not distinguish whether it is election period or look at the party affiliation of a respondent.
“We decide only on the basis of evidence. After careful and objective evaluation of the evidence gathered, we immediately file cases, if warranted. We are oblivious of the timing of the filing of cases in courts, just as corrupt public officials steal public money every time an opportunity comes,” Morales said.
“Fighting corruption is a 24/7 job. We file plunder or graft cases as soon as we are done with a thorough and impartial investigation. The Office will not be deterred by propaganda and threats in doing our job. As I have said in the past, fighting corruption is the reason for my life,” she added.
On accusations of “selective justice” by detractors, Morales said the Office of the Ombudsman has indeed been “selective.”
“Yes, we are selective because the Ombudsman’s charter (Republic Act 6770) mandates us to prioritize cases against high-ranking government officials, complaints involving grave offenses, as well as complaints involving large sums of money or properties or those against big-time plunderers. We are selective because we dismiss cases when evidence is not sufficient. In some cases, we are even constrained to dismiss administrative cases against elected officials because the abandonment of the condonation doctrine is prospective according to the 10 November 2015 decision of the Supreme Court,” she explained.
Republic Act 6770 is The Ombudsman Act of 1989.
Morales said, “We are pleased that the general public appreciates our efforts to end corruption.”
She cited the Bilang Pilipino Social Weather Stations (SWS) Mobile Survey conducted last March 28, wherein over half of the respondents said they had “much trust” in the Office of the Ombudsman and gave the constitutional body a net trust rating of +49.
According to the Office of the Ombudsman, the SWS also said that its trust rating was “Very Good” (+50 to +69) in Balance Luzon (outside Metro Manila ) and the Visayas, and “Good” (+30 to +49) everywhere else.