Senate archives impeach complaint vs Gutierrez

MANILA — The House resolution, impeaching former ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, was referred to the archives Monday morning.

At its first legislative session after the recess, the Senate voted in plenary to refer Gutierrez’s impeachment case to the archives after her resignation on April 29 made a trial unnecessary.

Gutierrez tendered her resignation to President Benigno Aquino III, 10 days before the supposed Senate trial on impeachment case filed against her.

The resignation of Gutierrez, an appointee of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, took effect last May 6.

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the House committee on justice had already written the Senate saying the resignation made Gutierrez’s impeachment moot. (more)

Plunder case ‘won’t affect Ombud’s impeachment’

* MANILA — The order of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to file plunder charges against Agriculture officials involved in the P728-million Fertilizer Fund Scam will have no effect on her impeachment case, lawmakers said.

Gutierrez on Friday ordered the filing of plunder charges against former Agriculture secretary Luis Lorenzo, former undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, and former assistant secretary Ibarra Poliquit and others “in conspiracy with one another.”

Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo said the filing of the charges was an “afterthought” and will not weaken the articles of impeachment filed in the Senate.

“How can it? The offense is precisely for failure to file within a reasonable time from the commission of the offense,” said Quimbo, who is a member of the prosecution panel of the House of Representatives. (more)

Ombudsman resigns from post

MANILA — Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez confirmed she tendered her resignation to President Benigno Aquino III Friday morning, 10 days before the Senate trial on impeachment case filed against her.

Gutierrez, in a press conference Friday afternoon, said she personally went to Aquino at 10:30 a.m. to hand over her one-page letter, which the President accepted.

The Ombudsman’s resignation, which she decided two weeks ago, will take effect on May 6.

She said she thanked the President for “graciously accommodating” her and the kind words he said to her.

Gutierrez said that she had wanted to defend herself at the Senate and she recognized that the Philippines needs “a full-time Ombudsman and a full-time Congress.” (more)