Merceditas N. Gutierrez is a Filipino government official and currently the Ombudswoman of the Republic of the Philippines. She heads the powerful Ombudsman Office which investigates all government officials who defy the law of conduct. She was a 2-time Justice Secretary of the Philippine Justice Department in 2002 and 2004, respectively. She assumed the Office of the Philippine Ombudsman on December 1, 2005 as the first female to head the post.



[edit] Early life

Gutierrez graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University Law School in 1972 wherein she was the classmate of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. She failed the Philippine bar exams in her first attempt, but after a year she passed it with an average grade. In 1983, she began engaging herself in government services. She became the Legal Officer of the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC), then, Presidential Legal Officer of the Philippine Presidential Office. After her stints from those government offices, she was moved by the President to the National Economic and Development Authority of the Philippines.

[edit] Justice Secretary

When she had entered the Department of Justice, she then outstandingly rose ranks from State Counsel to, as senior as, the Undersecretary of the Justice Department.

In two separate instances, Gutierrez was appointed as Acting Secretary to fill-out the vacant seats of Secretary Hernani Perez in 2002 and Secretary Simeon Datumanong in 2004.

[edit] Ombudsman

See also: Impeachment of Merceditas Gutierrez

In the 1st of December 2005, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Gutierrez to the post of Ombudsman, who is responsible for investigating erring government officials.

In June 2007, she was elected as Vice-President of the 22-member Asian Ombudsman Association (AOA).,[1] a regional grouping which aims to improve multi-lateral cooperation among Asian countries in the fight against the social menace.

In March 2009, former Senate President Jovito Salonga and other civil society groups filed impeachment charges before the Philippine Congress against Gutierrez, alleging that she mishandled cases. The complaint was later dismissed.[2]

On July 22, 2010 a new impeachment complaint has been filed against Merceditas Gutierrez by Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel,General Danilo Lim and Evelyn Pestano. On the basis of “illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient” handling of cases. [3]

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on March 10, 2011 recommended the impeachment and resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez as well as the firing of members of the Office of the Special Prosecutor for “neglecting, weakening and complicating” the plunder case against former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia and his family. [4]