Ombudsman Morales: Impeach me? Be my guest
Be ready to be disappointed.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales relayed this message to those “plotting” to oust her, claiming that she is not one to get easily scared by such tactics.
“If they wish to impeach me, go on, baby. They’re free to do that,” said an unfazed Morales at the Meet the Inquirer Multimedia forum on Tuesday afternoon.
“If they intend to scare me, I’m sorry. They’ll be disappointed,” said the country’s chief graft buster, who is five years into her seven-year term.
Appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III, she will end her term as Ombudsman in July 2018.
There have been rumors of efforts to impeach Morales, a former Supreme Court Associate Justice, amid the administration’s alleged displeasure over her handling of certain cases, including the investigation she initiated into Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa’s Las Vegas trip sponsored by Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
President Duterte had also ordered a “second look” at the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund diversion scam, after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II noted how evidence was “suppressed” against certain politicians.
An online petition filed by netizen Joseph Morante on change.org seeks Morales’ impeachment “for failing to do her duty and refusing to initiate a probe” into drug allegations against Sen. Leila de Lima. Filed a month ago, the petition has gained 1,777 supporters as of this writing.
The petition was filed before the Ombudsman initiated a fact-finding investigation against De Lima late last month.
In defending the Ombudsman’s proposed 2017 budget in August, Morales challenged members of the House of Representatives to impeach her if they believe she no longer served the role well.
Morales, an aunt-in-law of Mr. Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, this week announced that she would inhibit herself from hearing cases involving the President.
“Why are they interested in the Ombudsman? It baffles me. It’s beyond understanding. This is a thankless job, but in the past five years, I’ve learned to enjoy,” said Morales, now 75.
She said her current task is tougher, being the one with the final decision on cases, compared to her former job as just one of the 15 Supreme Court associate justices.
“To me, it’s more rewarding to be the Ombudsman, the difficulties notwithstanding, because you are alone, you take responsibility for any decision you make,” Morales said.
She said she has not felt any change with the new administration, except that she has become “older.”
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