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DRIFT and confusion. Some pockets of transparency but most everywhere, a predilection for opaqueness and more barriers to access in place. This is the access to information regime that lingers in the Philippines nearly a year after Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III came to power on a “Social Contract with the Filipino People,” which he said would be defined by transparency, accountability, and good governance.

This afternoon, news spread quickly that controversial Ombudsman Merceditas N. Gutierrez has resigned from her post. The surprise move comes days before the May 9 start of her Senate impeachment trial

THE PUBLIC expectations are clear and well-founded. Malacañang under President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will uphold transparency in the conduct of its affairs. And perhaps, too, in the disclosure of documents imbued with public interest, not least of them the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) of public officials.

THEY are supposed to be the exemplars when it comes to compliance with the law requiring all civil servants to declare and disclose the full details of their assets, liabilities and net worth. After all, the Office of the Ombudsman is vastly empowered by the Constitution to serve as the premier integrity and anti-graft agency of the land.