Morales tells solon asking what Ombudsman means: Google it
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives earned the ire of a fiery Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Thursday during the budget hearing of the anti-graft body’s proposed budget for 2017.
During the hearing before the appropriations committee deliberating on the Ombudsman’s proposed P2.299-billion budget for 2017, Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Mayo Almario asked Morales what the word Ombudsman means.
“Let me just start my question with some matters that I’d like to be educated with. What is the meaning of Ombudsman?” Almario said.
Morales said the Ombudsman’s mandate was to protect the people and investigate errant public officials.
Asked what is the origin of the word “Ombudsman,” Morales said it is of Scandinavian origin, which was changed from the original term “Tanodbayan.”
“But the word itself, wala bang Greek meaning yan (doesn’t it have a Greek meaning)?” Almario said.
“Scandinavian origin. Gumaya lang tayo lahat ng mga Pilipino. Magaling mag-kopya (We, Filipinos, just copied it. We are good at copying),” Morales said.
Morales advised the lawmaker that he could Google the answer to his question.
“Tanodbayan ang original nomenclature. But I think we can Google it,” Morales said, eliciting laughter from the audience.
Morales recommended to the representative to update his phone if he could not Google it himself.
“As I said, Mr. Congressman, maybe palitan niyo ang cellphone kung hindi kayo makagawa (you could change your cellphone if you can’t Google it),” Morales said.
Almario asked the Ombudsman if it would be all right with Morales if he visits the office sometime.
“Chika-chika lang (Let’s just exchange stories),” Almario said.
“Chika chika (Exchanging stories)? Can we not do it after session today?” Morales asked incredulously, again drawing laughter from crowd.
Morales ended the banter by saying there is no need for Almario to see her personally if he could write to the Ombudsman.
“We encourage people to write us without having to see the Ombudsman,” Morales said.
Morales also faced Cebu City Rep. Raul Del Mar, who lamented that the Ombudsman has a knack for publishing the results of its fact-finding investigation over errant officials even though the complaints were filed by the politician’s opponent.
“Sad to say that cases were filed mainly by our political opponents… The Ombudsman picks it up and goes on a fact-finding investigation … Maybe we can request that the Ombudsman discourages the publications of this fact-finding process,” Del Mar said.
Morales said it is usually the complainants who publicize the update on the Ombudsman’s fact-finding investigation on an accused government official.
“We do not publish our proceedings. It’s usually the complainant who are the ones involved… The fact-finding investigation is confidential, it is only when the case segues to preliminary investigation that naturally, we publish the conduct of a preliminary investigation,” Morales said.
Morales said the office also dismisses outright complaints that are obviously political harassment.
“We have a filtering mechanism. When we believe a complaint is not meritorious, right away we dismiss it. We don’t have to go through the rigmarole to go through fact-finding,” Morales added.
The Ombudsman has a proposed budget of P2.299 billion for 2017, up from the current budget of P2.063 billion. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.