A day after Executive secretary Paquito Ochoa issued a sacking order against Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III for being implicated in the highly controversial Manila Hostage crisis last year, the Office of the Ombudsman refused to implement the order.
The Ombudsman tried to protect their own by declaring that the order is still not final and executory since it is still appealable to the Supreme Court. Any executive order can be questioned by any competent authority, even a private citizen. It is well within the rights of the Ombudsman to question such an order.
Let me just give a backgrounder.
This decision stemmed from results of a probe conducted by the Incident and Investigation Review Committee that looked into the complicity and probable culpability of several government officials in that hostage crisis drama which led to the killing of eight Hongkong nationals, with the hostage taker, former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza.
The committee found Gonzales liable for committing “serious and inexcusable negligence and gross violation of their (Ombudsman) own rules of procedure by allowing Mendoza’s motion for reconsideration to languish for nine months without any justification.”
The Ombudsman office’s rules require motions for reconsideration in administrative cases such as Mendoza’s to be resolved in five days upon submission.
The Palace also found “substantial evidence” to support the allegation that Gonzalez, deputy ombudsman for the military and other law enforcement agencies, tried to extort P150,000 from Mendoza in connection with robbery and extortion charges that Mendoza was facing.
“In view of the foregoing, this office finds Deputy Ombudsman Emilio A. Gonzalez III guilty of gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct constituting betrayal of public trust, and hereby meted out the penalty of dismissal from service,” Malacañang said.
The decision was signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and five other Palace lawyers. Ochoa claims that the decision had the support and authority of the President himself, President Noynoy Aquino III.
What is surprising about this decision is the very fact that Malacanang actually trained its guns at Ombudsman without first cleansing its ranks.
Really, several Cabinet members should be equally sacked for their stupidity and negligence in that hostage taking crisis.
Communications secretary Ricky Carandang should be sacked for treating the incident as a “domestic, instead of an international” incident. Carandang’s highly public pronouncement was stupid, because it downplayed the incident and led enforcement agencies to lower their guard or shall we say, treatment of the incident.
Equally liable is DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno for being stupid and incompetent in handling the crisis. What had happened to the recommendations to charge Manila mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Moreno? How about the PNP officials who were responsible for this incident? How many of them were charged?
Malacanang has not moved even one finger to fire those incompetents inside the Cabinet. It is training its guns against the Office of the Ombudsman and for what? To effectively replace Gutierrez and put their own man at the helm.