By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines – Resigned Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez yesterday bade farewell to officials and employees of the anti-graft agency urging them to support her successor in the fight against graft and corruption in government.
With voice trembling, Gutierrez said she did her best to lead the Office of the Ombudsman towards success but lamented she had to go in order to put the nation and her family’s interest over and above her own personal vindication.
“I regret that I’m leaving without finishing my term,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said she is thankful that she was given the opportunity to serve as head of the anti-graft agency even as its accomplishments are not given prominence in the media.
“I leave the office with a heavy heart and I will surely miss our friendship,” she said in Filipino.
Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit was teary eyed when she hugged Gutierrez, while Deputy Special Prosecutor Jesus Micael read a prepared statement.
Officials and employees lined up to embrace Gutierrez or at least shake her hand for the last time as the song “I’ll never say goodbye” played in the background.
Each office or department was also allowed to offer video presentations and speeches thanking Gutierrez for her work during the last five years.