Palace warns Ombudsman not to be part of demolition job vs Duterte
Malacañang on Tuesday warned the Office of the Ombudsman not to be party to any demolition job against President Rodrigo Duterte as it bared that the anti-graft agency was now showing its “true political color.”
The Office of the Ombudsman has launched an investigation based on the complaint of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that the President had amassed over a billion pesos worth of unexplained wealth.
Duterte has slammed the Ombudsman claiming it illegally obtained documents regarding his bank records.
“The Office of the Ombudsman is showing its true political color,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a Palace briefing. “We must remind them that it is an independent and anti-graft body that is supposed to conduct an impartial and fair investigation.”
Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang earlier said the office had acquired documents of the first family’s bank transactions, which it said came from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and was given to the office last year.
The AMLC has denied giving the Ombudsman the bank records of the President.
Carandang has maintained that the Office of the Ombudsman has observed confidentiality in its investigation into Duterte’s wealth amid the President’s attacks against the agency’s partiality.
“The Office of the Ombudsman was being economical with the truth when it said it has observed confidentiality in its investigation of the graft complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte,” Abella said.
Abella cited a statement Carandang made on Oct. 2, saying he “was reading through the documents shown to him by the media during an ambush interview in response to media’s inquiry on the status of the complaint.”
“These go against the facts,” Abella said. “First, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has already declared: ‘As to the documents in its possession, the office stands by its word’.”
“Carandang’s claim is contrary to the earlier statement of the Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat that he sent a letter dated 17 August 2017 to initiate investigation of President Duterte’s alleged bank accounts,” Abella addded. “What all this confirms is that there is indeed a deliberate effort to discredit the President, mislead the public, and to create popular outrage against the duly elected Chief Executive.”
The public’s mind, he said, “seems to be being set.”
He called on the Ombudsman not to allow itself to be used by the President’s political opponents.
“It should not play into the hands of those who cannot accept the fact that the President won in the 2016 election,” he said. “It should not be party to a demolition job. We have seen this before. This is déjà vu.”
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