Gutierrez slams ‘vindictive’ allegations about GSIS role

Gutierrez slams ‘vindictive’ allegations about GSIS role

By: - Reporter / @FArgosinoINQ
/ 05:56 PM April 15, 2024

Former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez refuted the allegations against her on Monday, saying that the anonymous tip questioning her qualifications as a member of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) board “is tainted with vindictiveness and bad faith.”

Former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez refuted the allegations against her on Monday, saying that the anonymous tip questioning her qualifications as a member of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) board “is tainted with vindictiveness and bad faith.”

According to Gutierrez, since she started pointing out irregularities and anomalies in the GSIS’s operations, several attempts have already been made to remove her from office.


“The present anonymous letter is yet another attempt to harass and silence the undersigned into acquiescence,” her letter addressed to Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations chair Marius Corpus reads.


READ: GSIS says ex-Ombudsman Gutierrez not qualified as board member

Gutierrez said she does not hesitate to ruffle feathers about actions that violate laws, such as the Civil Service Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Audit (COA) because the investment of the contributions of all GSIS members is affected.

She said she has also “opposed abusive and high-handed treatment of GSIS officers and employees, especially those who are holding contrary opinions or views that are based on solid legal grounds and approved policies and guidelines of the GSIS.”

Gutierrez added that she has also supported investigations of anomalies and irregularities reported within the GSIS.

‘Legal conclusion’

Gutierrez released her April 8 letter to the media on Monday after GSIS President and General Manager Jose Arnulfo Veloso made public his letter to Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin that calls their attention on their  “legal conclusion” that Gutierrez “is not qualified” to sit as the agency’s board member after discovering findings related to “a whistleblowing complaint” against her.

In his letter, Veloso said that the whistleblowing complaint informed them that Gutierrez failed to possess the mandatory qualifications required by the GSIS Charter when she was appointed to the agency’s board member.


In response, Gutierrez also said the anonymous letter should be disregarded as it contains “no evidence” to prove that she is unfit to serve on the agency’s board.

Citing Section 12 of the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, Gutierrez’s letter says: “No anonymous complaint shall be entertained unless the act complained of is of public knowledge or the allegations can be verified or supported by documentary or direct evidence.


Under the GCG Memorandum Circular  No. 2012-05, Gutierrez said board members should be Filipino citizens; at least 30 years old at the time of appointment; be of good moral character of unquestionable integrity, and of known probity; have a college degree and five years relevant work experience.

Moreover, the appointee should also “possess management skills and competence preferably relating to the operations of the GOCC; and have attended, or will attend, a special seminar on public corporate governance for directors conducted by the GCG or any individual or entity accredited by it within three months from the date of appointment.

Gutierrez said that she is a Filipino citizen and a member of the Philippine Bar, noting that the public is aware of her experiences in public service after working as acting Justice secretary and eventually chief presidential legal counsel from 2004 to 2005 before becoming Ombudsman from 2005 to 2011.

The letter also pointed out how can there be a legal conclusion when the whistle blowing complaint did not attach any evidence of the allegations against her.

November 2023 appointment

In November last year, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced that Gutierrez would continue to sit on the board of trustees of the GSIS.

She was named to the GSIS board in an acting capacity in April of the same year.

She previously served as Ombudsman in the Arroyo administration but resigned during the term of former president Benigno Aquino III after having been impeached on charges related to corruption cases.

One of the key issues in Gutierrez’ impeachment letter was the plea bargain she approved in relation to the case of Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, who was a former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller convicted for crimes including direct bribery and facilitating money laundering.

In connection to this, Gutierrez explained that approval of Garcia’s plea bargain was not infirm as it was, in fact, upheld by the Supreme Court Third Division.

She said she based her claim from Republic v. Sandiganbayan (Special Second Division), G.R. No. 207340 and 207349, 16 Sept. 2020, wherein the Court held that the Sandiganbayan has not gravely abused its discretion in approving Garcia’s plea bargain.

Gutierrez, however, mentioned the irony of Senior Associate Justice Marvic MVF Leonen’s statement when he testified during her impeachment that such a plea bargaining agreement was void when the aforementioned Supreme Court ruling was penned by him.

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“The Decision in Republic of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan (Special Second Division) is thus a clear vindication of the undersigned,” the letter said.

TAGS: GSIS, Jose Arnulfo Veloso, Merceditas Gutierrez

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