Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Deputy Ombudsman axed over Duterte bank 'deals'

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr
Melinda Barton | 30 January, 2018, 19:04

Solicitor General Jose Calida echoed the same in a statement on Tuesday, adding the President has the inherent power to discipline a deputy ombudsman being the appointing authority.

A LAWMAKER on Tuesday, January 30, urged the Ombudsman to uphold and assert its status as an independent constitutional body. They are subject to the disciplinary powers of the Chief Executive and this has been decided in the Gonzales case.

"The independence of the Office of the Ombudsman has always been established by the Constitution and our Supreme Court", the group said in a statement, citing a 2014 Supreme Court decision.

"MalacaƱang is deliberately violating existing jurisprudence by issuing a suspension order against Deputy Ombudsman Carandang".

The SC specifically voided Section 8 (2) of the Ombudsman Act of 1989, which grants the president the power to remove a deputy ombudsman.

On Monday, Roque said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea had filed a case against Carandang for grave misconduct and grave dishonesty for the alleged misuse of confidential information and release of false information on the bank accounts.

The formal charge of the OES cited Carandang's earlier statement which said that his office has "received bank transactions coming from AMLC, bank transactions generated by AMLC".

Roque explained Carandang's suspension is legal. "Do it as soon as possible and we will see you in the House (of Representatives)", presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in response to Trillanes' statement.

"We will implement the order". Antonio F. Trillanes IV, who claimed to have the same documents.

"It also fails to recognize that under a system of checks and balances, an external disciplinary authority is desirable and is often the norm", the magistrate said.

"Public office is a public trust and accordingly, those who abuse such trust must be held accountable".

"He (Carandang) has to be the one to go to court".

Trillanes, a staunch critic of Duterte, said the OES had violated Article 11, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution, "which clearly states the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman and its Deputies".

Carandang is also facing administrative raps for divulging valuable information of confidential character "acquired by his office or by him on account of his official position to unauthorized persons or releasing such information in advance for its authorized release date".

"Nonetheless, my office is ready to defend the action of the Office of the President in suspending Carandang".

Villarin labeled Carandang's suspension as a proof of the Palace's "hypocrisy" in fighting corruption.

Meanwhile, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales remained mum on the suspension of her deputy. The 2016 complaint was lodged with the Ombudsman, an anti-graft prosecutor.

The Deputy Ombudsman was also slapped with a 90-day suspension, and was given 10 days to respond.

The 2014 ruling on the case of Emilio Gonzales III versus the Office of the President declared that it is unconstitutional for the President to have jurisdiction over the Office of the Ombudsman.

"This is a grave offense since it cerns no less than the highest elected official of the Republic", said Valdes, who heads the Save the Nation Movement.

Duterte has denied the allegation.