Morales: Threats part of the job
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales remains undaunted by the grenade that was left outside her home on Wednesday as she continues to believe that she had not done anything wrong.
Morales also refused to speculate on the motive behind the incident, or whether she thought it was related to the impeachment trial of dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona.
She said she was unshaken by the incident. “I’m a fatalist. If it’s your time, it’s your time,” she said.
“I know I’m in the embrace of God because I know I have not done anything wrong, I’m not trying to malign people just because they are not your allies,” she added.
Morales’ testimony is thought to have been a key factor in helping the 20 senator-judges convict Corona for failing to declare some of his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
Morales took the stand at the impeachment trial of Corona as a hostile witness for the defense. Her presentation of a report she claimed to have obtained from the Anti-Money Laundering Council detailing the alleged dollar deposits of the Chief Justice was seen to have bolstered the case against him.
Morales said Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo had suggested that she beef up her personal security.
“But you know, those things are part of the risks attendant to the position of the office,” she said.
She said the closed-circuit TV camera system installed in her house was being reviewed. “If there is any security lapse, then we’ll see,” she said.
Morales said her family was doing fine and understood the nature of her job.
“They’re OK, they’re cool. They know that’s part of the trade, part of the position, part of the office,” she said.
Police investigators said the grenade may have been placed outside Morales’ house to scare her.
“When the grenade was found, the safety pin was still in place, which would mean it would not explode suddenly. It was also placed in a canister,” said Chief Superintendent Benito Estipona, director of the Southern Police District (SPD).
He said security guards found the M-26 hand grenade inside a green plastic canister wrapped in a plastic bag and placed near the perimeter fence of Morales’ house, a few meters from the main gate, at around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Also found inside the plastic bag was a receipt from a nearby gasoline station, with the words “Pang densa kay CCM, nagmalakit [sic],” written on it. Police have yet to decipher the message.
Estipona said police have augmented the security detail around the Morales house at 9 Carpio Compound, Soldiers Hills, Putatan, Muntinlupa.
Chief Inspector Giovanni Martinez, head of the Muntinlupa police intelligence unit, said they were reviewing footage from a security camera “but we cannot disclose details at this time.”
Martinez agreed with Estipona that the motive may have been just to scare and not to detonate the grenade.
He said that when he interviewed Morales, she did not mention and could not recall any person or party that might want to harm her.
Many other cases
“However, we are still looking at all possible angles. We have to understand that, aside from her testimony during the impeachment trial, she also handles many cases at the Ombudsman,” Martinez said.
Meanwhile, officials yesterday said the hand grenade found outside Morales’ house could not have come from the arsenals of the police or the military.
Robredo said a check of the records of the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that the lot number of the M-26 hand grenade was not among the registered weapons of the police.
Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs chief Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, meanwhile, said the military did not have that type of grenade in its inventory. “What we have is the MK2 (grenade), M-61 (grenade) and PRB (blast mine),” he said.
Robredo said the motive for the threat on Morales was still not clear.
“The note that came with it sent a mixed message,” he said.
Robredo said the “CCM” presumably stood for Morales’ initials and “pang-densa” could be a misspelling of “pang-depensa,” or for the defense of Morales.
Robredo said Morales currently had a rotating four-man security team, “which would have to be increased.” With reports from Tetch Torres, DJ Yap and Nathaniel R. Melican