Duterte threatens to form body to probe ‘corruption’ in Ombudsman
President Duterte has attacked the Office of the Ombudsman amid its probe of his and his family’s bank transactions, threatening to form a body to investigate alleged corruption in the agency if it does not clean up its act.
In an interview with Erwin Tulfo on government television station PTV 4 on Thursday, the President said he had nothing against the Office of the Ombudsman’s ongoing inquiry into his bank transactions.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has inhibited herself from the inquiry, as Mr. Duterte’s son-in-law Manases Carpio is her nephew.
The Office of the Ombudsman’s investigation stems from a complaint filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that the President and his family hid huge sums of money in multiple bank accounts.
“The Ombudsman has investigated me ever since. It has not stopped. That’s OK with me, we’re in government,” the President said.
But he said the agency itself was beset by corruption.
“Ask the military [personnel] who faced cases there. How much did they pay? The police, everybody, mayors, governors, ask them. They paid. They paid. Son of a … After they paid, the cases were dismissed,” Mr. Duterte said.
Believing there was still corruption in the Office of the Ombudsman, the President said he was willing to investigate the agency.
“If you do not investigate yourselves, I will set up a commission to investigate you, as a President with investigating powers. There will be trouble between us, because who will investigate your shenanigans?” he said.
He asked what remedy Filipinos could have if the Office of the Ombudsman itself was crooked.
“Don’t force my hand to it. I will set up a commission to investigate the Ombudsman, the institution itself and all,” he said.
Bank records of the President and his family showed that the flow of money into the Duterte family’s bank accounts through the years could amount to a billion pesos, according to the Office the Ombudsman.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said Mr. Duterte’s supposed bank transactions submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman did not necessarily show that the Chief Executive was hiding more than P1 billion.
Neither do these show that the funds are ill-gotten, Panelo said.