IBP head hits Duterte threat to probe Ombudsman
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to create a body to investigate the Office of the Ombudsman is “at best constitutionally suspect.”
Duterte earlier threatened to create a body to investigate the alleged corruption at the Office of the Ombudsman. His move was seen as retaliation to the office’s investigation into his and his family’s wealth.
“The creation of another body either by executive issuance or by an act of Congress that effectively defeats the independence and flexibility needed by the Ombudsman in the discharge of her duties is, at best, constitutionally suspect,” Fajardo said in a statement.
He said public officials must not be sensitive because the Office of the Ombudsman is only doing its mandate – which is investigating and prosecuting possible erring government officials.
“Public officials must not be onion-skinned. Public office is a public trust. Upon assumption of public office, a government official holds his life open to public scrutiny,” Fajardo said.
Fajardo reminded government officials that the Office of the Ombudsman is a body created by the 1987 Constitution itself.
“It is judicially established that the Office of the Ombudsman does not owe its existence to any act of Congress…As an independent body, it must be insulated from political pressure – most especially from the highest political office in the land,” Fajardo said.
“To allow such pressure would result in the prostitution or impairment of its core functions,” he said.
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