Google it: Ask a silly question, get a silly answer
Before asking her a question, look it up on Google first.
The famous temper of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales flared up again on Thursday during a testy but comical exchange with a congressman, during which she suggested that he upgrade to a cell phone with a better internet reception.
The verbal smackdown occurred while Morales, 75, was facing a grilling from lawmakers during a committee hearing on the Ombudsman’s proposed P2.299-billion budget for 2017 at the House of Representatives.
When the turn of Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Mayo Almario came, he prefaced his query by asking the retired Supreme Court justice to educate him on what the word “ombudsman” meant.
Not quite understanding the question, Morales gave a brief explanation about her mandate of protecting the Filipino people from corruption.
But Almario wanted a dictionary definition of the origins of the word. “Doesn’t it have some kind of Greek meaning?” he asked.
“I think we can Google it,” the Ombudsman replied succinctly, eliciting laughs from the gallery.
Still, she humored the congressman, saying the word was of Scandinavian origin and adopted by Filipinos to refer to the government’s top graft prosecutor, though the title had originally been “tanodbayan.”
Her agency’s official website actually defines the etymological origins of “ombudsman,” saying it comes from the Norwegian word “umbodhsmadhr,” meaning “administration man” or “the king’s representative.”
To the Swedish, the word literally means “one who represents another.”
Known for her barbed tongue, Morales gave Almario a piece of advice that drew another wave of laughter from the crowd: “Have your cell phone changed if you can’t get a good signal.”
To his credit, the Mindanao legislator was a good sport about Morales’ snappy retorts.
At one point, he asked Morales if lawmakers like himself could simply walk into the door of the Ombudsman’s office for a visit.
“Chika-chika lang (just for a chat),” he deadpanned.
With an incredulous look, Morales shot back: “Can’t we do it after the session today?”
Almario later explained that his line of questioning was to determine how to keep the Ombudsman’s powers in check.
“Who ‘ombuds’ the Ombudsman?” he said.
To that, Morales gave a brief but weighty answer: “The question is ‘who among the [representatives] will bell the cat?’ But I am impeachable. You can initiate impeachment complaints against me.”
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