A ‘slap’ on the Ombudsman

(Published at the February 2-9, 2002 issue of The Junction Regional Newspaper)


BAGUIO CITY- More and more groups and individuals have already expressed their dissatisfaction over Ombudsman Aniano Desierto.


In Baguio City recently, Linis Gobyerno, Inc., a Baguio City based civil society group and Corruption Prevention Unit  (CPU) of the office of the Ombudsman (OMB), has decided to surrender its accreditation to the said office.


Linis Gobyerno, is a non-stock, non-profit organization, which was created to fight graft and corruption in Baguio City and surrounding Provinces. It was accredited on July 2000 as a CPU, under the supervision of the Community Coordination Bureau of the OMB.


It has been active in forwarding complaints to the OMB against government official (elected, appointed and career) regarding various allegations such as graft and corrupt practices.


The group, as far back as December 7 has already been contemplating the possibility of returning its CPU accreditation. This was brought about by the impeachment complaint filed by Lawyer Ernesto Franciso, Jr. The group’s support of Francisco’s complaint has caused them harassment by the OMB and individuals associated with it.


On January 25, with the filing of the second impeachment complaint, the group has finally decided to turn its back on the OMB by returning and surrendering its CPU Accreditation. In a resolution, the group said that they are one with Atty. Francisco and Misamis Oriental representative Oscar Moreno in the perception that the Ombudsman is not living up to his title as the country’s ‘graft buster’. The group further cited their harrowing experiences with the OMB with regards to the complaints they had been filing.


And while Linis Gobyerno has been active in filing cases against erring government officials, it has also decided to delay and hold in abeyance its forwarding of complaints to the OMB, not until the issues against Desierto have been heard and cleared.


“This is a hard decision to make. However we don’t want to be a part to any cover-up, or be a part of any effort to sanitize the image of the OMB” Freddie Farres, Linis Gobyerno Executive Director said. He further added that  Ombudsman Desierto had been stating that one of his accomplishment is the establishment of the CPUs all over the country which is a deterrent to graft and corruption. “The CPUs are merely being used to project a good image for the OMB. We believe that there are numerous CPUs and their members that are frustrated over how their cases and complaints are being handled. There are many groups and individuals out there who are willing to do a supreme civic duty to file complaints and denounce corrupt officials. There are many honest to goodness CPUs, but if the OMB continues in its mishandling of complaints against government officials, the campaign against graft and corruption will go no where”, Farres commented.


“I am also appealing to other CPUs all over the country to help fight graft and corruption, to come out and be heard. I know your frustrations, and I know that you are disillusioned. Let us join hands to honestly clean this government”, Farres said.


Meanwhile, Representative Moreno is thankful for the move of Linis Gobyerno. “Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your support. We hope more CPUs will do what you have done”, Moreno said to Farres in their brief meeting at the House of Representatives.


Atty. Francisco, on the other hand is appreciative of the act “This is a slap on the face for the Ombudsman”, he commented