Editorial: Apostol’s seven-year stint

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Friday, August 1, 2014


PELAGIO Apostol’s seven-year stint as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas will end this month, on Aug. 21 to be precise. We remember his entry in 2007 not only because he replaced an ailing Primo Miro but also because Cebu’s favorite, former Ombudsman director Virginia Santiago, famously vied for the slot without politicians backing her up.

Apostol’s long stint meant he saw the transition from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. It is because of this that assessing Apostol’s work is difficult. The contrast is obvious.

“I may have not fully met the public expectation, but they will eventually know it. During my term, I never compromised any case,” Apostol told Sun.Star Cebu.

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Indeed, public expectation is difficult to navigate especially for Apostol. He was the deputy ombudsman when the anti-graft office was perceived to have gone soft on Arroyo’s allies who were facing graft complaints. The softness was seen in their slow resolution.

This reached the point that when Aquino took over the presidency, among his first moves was to work for the impeachment of then ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. That move ended when Gutierrez chose to resign. But even then, the image of the anti-graft office was already dented.

While public view of Gutierrez’s replacement, former Supreme Court associate justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, has been favorable, the positivism has still to trickle down to the other anti-graft office people, including Apostol.

Apostol will always be judged not by the number of cases the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas prosecuted but on what his office did or did not do in major graft cases involving local politicians. Inaction was not only the problem, so too the speed with which the cases were resolved.

If there is any consolation, Apostol is not perceived to be corrupt. There hasn’t been any rumor, which often emanates from actual occurrence, that cases in the anti-graft office were resolved in exchange for money. It is this aspect that his promise to end his term “with flying colors” could sound compelling.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 02, 2014.

Opinion

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