Here’s the a piece of unsolicited advice of retired Ombudsman Morales to newly appointed Ombudsman Samuel Martires, “Don’t succumb to pressure”.
While she mentioned that, Morales also added, “It really depends to the person. They might say, ‘Who is she anyway to give me a piece of advice?’”
Morales also asked the members of the media to remain vigilant at this time when “the assertion of press freedom was even more challenging.” She said, “The Ombudsman and the media, as entities both discharging watchful conscience, should continue to work hand in hand in upholding public interest, and keeping government resources, systems and personnel less vulnerable to corruption”.
She reminded the media to remain faith and assertive to the truth and freedom. “In the midst of fake news, it is high time that journalists reaffirm their commitment to truth and freedom by putting pen to paper in order for the story to see the light and combat the falsities that surround us” she said. “I challenge you to continue emitting that spark even as my turn is about to come to a close,” she added.
What other issues that need to be addressed by the next Ombudsman
Morales said, “Bribery is the main cause of the delay in graft cases which usually led to the dismissal of cases. This is done by some unscrupulous officials and personnel. The internal affairs board was tasked with investigating and prosecuting officials accused of delaying cases in exchange for “parking fee”.
“Having leads are very important to us”, she added. “Once there are leads, then we will be investigating and the work will be a lot easier because we will not be groping in the dark anymore” the Ombudsman said. She also cited that her campaign against bribery has led to the dismissal of at least two employees and an official who were caught receiving bribes.
Morales express her frustration by saying, “I am sad. There’s plunder but there’s no plunderer”, look at the PCSO funds” which happened during the time of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. “The Rule of Law must always prevail,” Morales said. When asked to explain, she said the people will be disadvantaged should there be “dents in the Rule of Law.”
Ombudsman Samuel Martires will be welcomed by a lot of high-profile cases such as the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, Mamasapano, the wealth declaration document of presidential son Paolo Duterte, allegations of corruption at the Department of Tourism and the P50-million bribery scandal of former immigration deputy commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles.
With all these high-profile cases, Morales cannot help but to remind Marties to be firm and not to succumb to pressure especilly if the ones involved are closely associated with President Rodrigo Duterte.