Apostol lashes out at Merci, Santiago
WITH Merceditas Gutierrez out as Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol finally found his voice.
During a book launching at the Cebu Grand Convention Center yesterday, Apostol lashed out at Gutierrez for allegedly favoring Asst. Ombudsman Virginia Palanca-Santiago and concentrating the exercise of power to a select few anti-graft officials.
Apostol will be interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council today for his application to the Ombudsman post.
Santiago declined to comment further on Apostol’s allegation, saying she was merely following orders from Gutierrez.
Apostol spoke out his grievances in the launching of the book titled “What Went Wrong in the Office of the Ombudsman and How We Can Move Forward?”
Since assuming post in Aug. 21, 2007, Apostol said he never experienced a meeting with anti-graft officials.
When his request for a meeting with other anti-graft officials was submitted to Gutierrez, she reportedly turned it down.
“The Ombudsman doesn’t want to have a meeting. She was even overheard saying, ‘’Papel papel na lang’ (Let’s play along),” Apostol said.
Apostol said the no-meeting policy was intended to “confuse the deputy Ombudsman; and weaken the system in the office to avoid opposition to any possible undesirable and unilateral plan like centralization of action and approval of Ombudsman cases.”
Apostol said there was an intention to isolate him and the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao from other anti-graft officials.
“The overall Deputy Ombudsman courses official directives or instructions to Assistant Ombudsman Santiago who doesn’t relay official communications to her Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas,” he said.
As a consequence, Apostol said he has been partially isolated from their central office.
Apostol said he was “admonished by the Ombudsman herself (Gutierrez) for bypassing” Santiago.
Apostol also criticized the selection and promotion of key officials in the anti-graft office, which were done without his and the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao’s participation.
Apostol then criticized Gutierrez for issuing a memorandum that allows the central office to have the final say on cases involving high-ranking government officials.
Apostol said “centralization” may have been practice to control the outcome or result of the Ombudsman cases without regard to their merit.
He said investigation of cases involving governors and vice governors should have been done by sectoral offices.
The “centralization of cases,” he said, caused great delays in the resolutions of cases. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol
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