After almost 8 hours, the House of Representatives impeached Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez early Tuesday at 12:15 AM in a 212-46 vote with four abstentions. The lawmakers approved the articles of impeachment on March 22, 2011 to bring Gutierrez to trial at the Upper House (Senate) for her alleged betrayal of public trust.
Below is Ombudsman Gutierrez’s press statement on the impeachment rap against her.
What transpired last night at the House of Representatives is lamentable but expected. From the start, I received no fair treatment from the House Justice Committee, more so from its Chairman, Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr., whose father is facing a graft charge filed by my office with the Sandiganbayan. He himself is being investigated for some allegations of corruption.
Even though I felt the proceedings were being railroaded in violation of my rights, I still gave the House of Representatives the benefit of the doubt that in the end, they would discard partisan politics.
I was mistaken.
I have always believed in the rule of law and I quite expected that members of the House of Representatives also share the same conviction. I had hoped that members of the House of Representatives would uphold the rule of law by not tolerating or acquiescing to acts that defeat it.
I was wide off the mark.
Considering how the proceedings were conducted, the undue haste majority of the members of the House Justice Committee carried out the proceedings in violation of my right to due process, I had hoped that our lawmakers in plenary would not allow such an injustice and vote in accordance with wisdom and good conscience, thereby rising above partisan lines.
I was wrong. Dark politics ruled the day.
Be that as it may, I am prepared to face the Senate sitting as an impeachment court. My conscience is clear. I have done nothing wrong. I have done my job as the country’s Ombudsman to the best of my knowledge and capability, and I will continue to do so with all those who continue to support me in my quest for truth and justice. In God’s grace and time, and with intrepid, impartial and independent Senate, I know we will in the end prevail.
Thank you and may God bless us all.