Morales urges every Filipino to take up fight vs graft
Two weeks before her retirement on July 26, outgoing Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales challenged “every Filipino to take up the cause of anticorruption as a personal crusade.”
In a speech in Makati on Thursday, Morales said the battle against corruption was “not an exclusive duty” of her office, as she enjoined her audience to “assert transparency, demand integrity, and exact accountability from our government.”
Morales, who takes pride in reducing the backlog of 19,000 cases in her office in 2011 to 6,000 at the end of 2017, has been known to investigate without hesitation high-level officials despite provoking the ire of many in the process, including President Duterte.
“While we recognize that corruption is beyond our individual capacities, we are emboldened to realize that it is never beyond our collective resolve,” the Ombudsman said.
Morales who, at 77, has spent nearly 50 years in public office, said she had no “immediate plans.”
In what could be among her last official decisions, she ordered the indictment of Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino and 15 others for hastily approving the long-term lease of the Olongapo City Civil Center complex to SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM PHI) in 2014.
Morales said Paulino allegedly failed to follow the rules of Swiss challenge, which requires government agencies that receive unsolicited proposals to invite other parties to match it or to offer a more favorable deal.
Instead of waiting for the lapse of 60 working days from the publication of the invitation to submit bids, as provided for by law, Morales said the Olongapo officials recommended the award of the lease just 10 days after the invitation was published.
By hastily approving SM PHI’s bid offer, the city government shut its doors to possible better proposals, the Ombudsman said.— MATTHEW REYSIO-CRUZ AND VINCE F. NONATO
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