Defying the Ombudsman PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2015 11:20

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

The action of Makati Mayor Binay in filing a TRO against his suspension and his adamant stand to continue in his position in spite of the order of the Office of the Ombudsman to suspend him for 6 months are all reflective of how difficult is the fight against corruption in the Philippines.  Google describes the role of the Ombudsman:   “The Ombudsman, which is intended to be independent and autonomous constitutional body, is armed with the power to prosecute erring public officers and employees. The Ombudsman has an active role in the enforcement of laws on anti-graft and corrupt practices, as well as other offenses committed by government officers and employees.”

If we take this description of the work of  the Ombudsman  as correct and valid, what makes Mayor Binay think he can  simply defy the order for his suspension? I have a simple answer: an overdeveloped   sense of  power which makes him feel he is above the law.

Oh yes, he said he will “continue serving as head  of the city until he had exhausted all available remedies.” And where does such a stand put the order for his suspension and the authority of the Ombudsman to enforce it? Right where rightful authority is mocked and sneered at.

Mayor Binay is not the first public official who has taken this stand. He has been preceded by others – governors and mayors – and in the process  respect for rightful authority has been weakened. Defiance of this sort has also bred more heated political rivalry which very often leads to violence and breakdown of peace and order in a community.

I understand that our laws provide us protection from those who wish to harangue us and  protection from those who wish to advance their own interest by blocking our own rights.  We understand this and we certainly should not abet such actions. But Mayor Binay- and his family-  cannot simply claim that the charges of corrupt practices leveled against him and which have led to this order for suspension are all politically motivated. Mayor Binay and the public know how strong his family is in Philippine politics ; I cannot be convinced that the charge of corruption against him was just filed whimsically. Very possibly our judicial process might find him innocent of the charge against him but that does not mean the Ombudsman should not have given the order of suspension. And Mayor Binay, believing fully that he is innocent, cannot simply defy the order of suspension, an order that was given well within the authority of the Ombudsman.

I have no admiration for the likes of Senators Enrile, Estrada and Revilla but they certainly have submitted themselves more humbly to the law of our country than Mayor Binay has done.