Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Repost From Jesse Edep of GMA News

PHL business leaders favor Ombudsman impeachment

The impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez will boost investor confidence in the Philippines, the Makati Business Club said over the weekend, noting that the democratic system in the country is truly working.

"The impeachment cases of the Ombudsman will eventually bring back the confidence of businessmen in the country... and the justice system," said Ramon del Rosario, chairman of the group which consists of the country's business leaders.

He said the Ombudsman will have her chance to defend herself at the Senate and the people will no longer be groping in the dark.

On March 21, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Gutierrez. By May, the Senate will start hearing the cases against her.

Gutierrez has repeatedly denied the charges against her. She said "dark politics" ruled the House of Representatives when the lawmakers voted to impeach her.

“From the start, I received no fair treatment from the House Justice Committee, more so from its chairman, Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr., whose father is facing a graft charge filed by my office with the Sandiganbayan. He himself is being investigated for some allegations of corruption," Gutierrez said at a press briefing a day after the House voted for her impeachment.

Justice without delay

Critical of Gutierrez, the business club is supporting the House justice committee's report calling for the impeachment.

"The Filipino people will be able to exact accountability from a public official who has long frustrated the people's desire for justice and unapologetically held on to her position despite her office's indefensibly poor track record in prosecuting corrupt public officials," the group said.

Del Rosario said the group is calling on the Senate to dispense justice without delay.

"The ball is now in the Senate’s court. We believe in the strength of the evidence pointing to the Ombudsman’s betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution," he said.

"All we ask is that the honorable members of the Senate conduct the impeachment trial without undue delay, and that the greater interest of the Filipino people and the restoration of their trust in our justice system remain uppermost in the minds of our senators as they consider the merits of the cases against the Ombudsman," he continued.

Meanwhile, Donald Dee, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said the group will eagerly follow the impeachment proceedings of Gutierrez. "We will just wait where the proceedings at the Senate will head to," he said.

As the impeachment cases against the Ombudsman are already in the Senate, Dee said "constitutional process in the country is certainly working."

"Following constitutional process and democratic system are important to businessmen. It gives them confidence to do business in the Philippines," he added.

Edgardo Lacson, president of Employers Confederation of the Philippines, also said the group respects the decision of the Lower House.

The employers’ association takes no sides on the impeachment of Gutierrez, he clarified, saying “what is important is that the Philippine democracy is successfully working."

Merci should defend herself

“Let the impeachment process unfold. Let Merci prove her innocence. We will see how her telenovela becomes educational and instructive [to] people," Lacson added.

“Matagal na siyang laman ng diyario at telebisyon (It has been a while since she’s in the newspapers and television). It is high time to defend herself," Jesus Arranza, president of Federation of Philippine Industries.

Having her go through the impeachment process is a “good exercise" rather than people judge her wrongly, Arranza also said.

Gutierrez is accused of sitting on several corruption cases against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, including the ZTE-NBN, the Euro Generals, and the and fertilizer fund scam.

Mrs. Arroyo’s husband, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, and Gutierrez were batch-mates at the Ateneo Law School. — VS/KBK, GMA News

Reposted From Jesse Edep of GMA News

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