By Charmaine A. Tadalan
OMBUDSMAN CONCHITA Carpio-Morales is leaving her office “with a heavy heart” after the dismissal of high-profile cases due to inordinate delay.
“Most of our high profile cases are dismissed by the Sandiganbayan because of the inordinate delay doctrine of the Supreme Court,” the Ombudsman said on Monday during the Multi-Sectoral Forum in Baguio City.
“It’s very disappointing. I’m leaving the office with a heavy heart. ‘Heavy’ because the inordinate delay doctrine has not been handled by the Supreme Court the way we would like it,” she said. The Ombudsman had previously asked the High Court to set guidelines in deciding when the period of delay of a case is deemed inordinate.
On this note, the retiring Ombudsman said she hopes her successor will be able to lessen the problem through stricter monitoring system of cases.
“It’s impossible for us to solve all the problems and that’s the reason why we have to improve our system of filtering cases,” Ms. Morales said. “I would like my succeeding Ombudsman to be more active in monitoring cases.”
“It will in a way solve the problem of inordinate delay kasi malalaman mo kung kailan natutulog ang kaso (because you can see when the case is dormant),” she said.
Ms. Morales said she sees the high number of cases being filed in the Office of the Ombudsman as a reflection of public trust and confidence in its officers.
The Ombudsman will be ending her seven-year term on July 26. She said that over the course of her stay, what challenged her most is handling all 19,000 cases she inherited.
“The greatest challenge was to resolve 19,000 cases that I inherited, some of which had no records, some of which had fallen apart,” she said.
Asked whether she has plans to run in next year’s midterm elections, she said “if you’re referring to the incoming elections, there is a prohibition in the law that an Ombudsman or a Deputy Ombudsman cannot run for public office in the elections immediately after their severance from the office.”
“Now, are you asking me if I might be interested later on when the prohibition stops? No, I’m not interested. I’ve devoted almost 48 years of my life in the judiciary, in public service and that’s good enough, I want to smell the flowers,” she added.