Senate shelves Ombudsman's impeachment trial

Posted at 04/30/2011 1:04 PM | Updated as of 04/30/2011 11:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senators canceled the impeachment trial of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez following her resignation.

The witness stand is ready. The robes of senator-judges have been delivered, and the rules have been approved and published. But because of Gutierrez's resignation, her impeachment trial will no longer push through.
 
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who was supposed to sit as presiding officer, is relieved.
 
"Mabuti nag-resign siya para sa gayon tapos na. Tahimik ang bayan. Wala nang drama. Nawalan tayo ng telenovela sa Senado," said Enrile.
 
Many senators agreed that Gutierrez's resignation will do the country good. It also means the impeachment complaint and all documents related to the case will be sent to the archives and the Senate can now focus on vital legislation.
 
At the House of Representatives, lawmakers who had defended the Ombudsman expressed their disappointment. Allies of former President Gloria Arroyo were dismayed.
 
They were the first to come to Gutierrez's defense when the impeachment complaints were filed against her.
 
"One who retreats from a good fight doesn't deserve to be defended. It is an admission of culpability," said House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman.
 
"Yes, disappointed. Thinking ko is, she will be given her day in court. Part and parcel of those charges filed," said Rep. Danilo Suarez.
 
Others said Gutierrez's resignation won't spare her from other possible charges.
 
Meanwhile, in a statement, Arroyo spokesperson Elena Bautista Horn said the former president respects Gutierrez's decision to spare her family, friends, and herself from further punishment.
 
"We can imagine how this affected not only the Ombudsman, but also her family, friends, and the very office she holds...We respect her decision to spare them and herself further punishment,” Horn said.
 
The ball is now in the hands of Malacañang as many are hoping the Aquino Administration will make the right choice for the next Ombudsman. ANC