This was the statement delivered by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez at a press conference last Friday. She unexpectedly resigned 10 days before the Senate impeachment trial against her was set to begin on May 9, 2011.
This morning at 10:30 a.m. I personally went to Malacanang to meet with our President, His Excellency Benigno Aquino III, to tender my resignation. I thank the President for graciously accommodating me on very short notice, and for all the kind words he said to me.
In almost four decades of devoting my life to government service, I have always been guided by the precepts that the public and moral responsibilities of public officials transcend all other considerations. It is in accordance with these principles that I have strived and persevered to build and maintain an unblemished record in public service. For me, this is the greatest and lasting legacy that I can leave my family, my children and my children’s children.
Since September of last year, I have been subjected to impeachment proceedings which seek my removal as the Ombudsman. I have been charged with allegedly betraying the public trust which was vested in me when I assumed office in December of 2005 – this because I allegedly slept and failed to act promptly on cases of national concern.
Because of my strong belief in the falsity of the charges leveled against me, I was firm and resolute that I shall participate in the impeachment trial before the Senate and prove to the Filipino people that the allegations against me are untrue, as they are groundless. I felt that I owed it to the people and the Office of the Ombudsman to vindicate and protect the integrity and independence of the institution.
I also believed that in the Senate, I shall receive a verdict that would come only after the presentation of credible witnesses and evidence, unswayed by any kind of pressure, whether open or subtle, in proceedings that are devoid of histrionics that might detract from its basic aim to ferret out the truth and decreed by the cold neutrality of Senator-jurors.
In the past weeks, it has become evident to me that the vilification thrown at me by my detractors will go on as it has, since September of last year. I have withstood all these with the hope that I can assuage myself with the balm of a clear conscience and a verdict of not guilty by the Senate.
I wanted to face my accusers whatever the personal agony it would have involved.
But the interests of my family, my Office, and more importantly the nation, must always come before any personal considerations.
(Below is the video of the press conference, courtesy of Youtube and PhilStar Online.)