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Meet the Bikolano Ombudsman Nominee

Judge Alfredo Agawa, Ombudsman nominee
Judge Alfredo Agawa, Ombudsman nominee

Naga City (May 19 2011) – A retired Regional Trial Court judge has come to within striking distance of becoming the next Ombudsman as he becomes the sole Bikolano nominee, thus far, to the position Merceditas Gutierrez only grudgingly let go.

Judge Alfredo Agawa , 72 , is now in line for interview by the Judicial and Bar Council that is tasked to provide a short-list of candidates from which President Aquino will select the next Ombudsman.

Yesterday Judge Agawa was elated to hear Palace spokesman say that P-Noy is pleased with the field of nominees to the coveted position.

Agawa retired as the RTC judge of Iriga City and had worked also as the provincial election officer of Camarines Sur before heading Naga City’s Prosecutor’s Office.

Personally believing that he is fit for the position of Ombudsman, Agawa is a known crusader against corruption.

“I think I can impose changes in the system of Ombudsman if I will be given the chance to head the said office”, he said.

Outright, Agawa points to the huge backlog of cases  that he likes to see reduced by imposing a mandatory resolution of a case within a maximum of 2 years of its filing.

Agawa said one cannot underestimate the ill effect of justice that is delayed or denied. It can kill people, he explained,  pointing as example the fate that befell dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza who met a tragic end after he held several Hongkong nationals hostage in what is now called the infamous August 2010 Manila Hostage crisis that also saw several of his victims getting killed.

Hostage-taker Mendoza was a multi-awarded model policeman who was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman in January last year and his prompt motion for reconsideration that should have been acted upon in 5 days in accordance with the Ombudsman’s Rules and Procedure languished in someone’s desk for 9 months—in spite of the absence of opposition to his appeal.

At the height of the hostage crisis, shortly before he was killed in the ensuing rescue operation, Mendoza was accusing Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III of extorting 150,000 pesos from him in exchange for favorable decision.

Last Friday, the Office of the President axed Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez for gross neglect of duty and gross misconduct, the Palace and the investigators apparently giving credence to Mendoza’s extortion claim.

It is against the backdrop of massive corruption in the anti-graft body that the country now awaits its next Ombudsman. While keeping his fingers crossed, Judge Alfredo Agawa feels he has been ripened by lifetime experiences and he is prepared to take on the dark forces that pervade the office that he likes to head.