Ombudsman won’t quit despite Duterte challenge
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday said she would not resign despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge to her to resign with him.
“I will not be baited into abandoning my constitutional duties,” Morales said in a statement.
Mr. Duterte, whose bank transactions are being investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman, has challenged Morales and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to step down with him. He called the two officials “corrupt.”
“If the President has charges against me, I will answer them in accordance with the law. I expect him to answer the charges against him in the same manner,” Morales said in the statement issued on Tuesday.
Upholding rule of law
“As public officials, we have sworn to uphold the rule of law. We should as well, serve with honor, honesty and decency,” she said.
Her statement came after Mr. Duterte accused the Ombudsman of “holding illegally obtained evidence.”
“They cannot use that in court. That was stolen,” the President said on Monday, referring to bank documents supposedly held by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang.
Carandang is investigating Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s complaint that the President and his family had undeclared wealth estimated at more than a billion pesos.
Morales has inhibited herself from the case. She is the aunt of Manases Carpio, the President’s son-in-law.
In an earlier interview with the Inquirer, Carandang said the documents in his custody had “more or less … the same details” as the alleged AMLC bank transaction documents presented by Trillanes.
Trillanes, as early as Aug. 12, said that the Office of the Ombudsman received AMLC documents a month before the May 2016 presidential election handily won by Mr. Duterte.
Mr. Duterte, in his Monday tirades on the legality of the Ombudsman’s bank documents, said the AMLC “did not give authority to release my bank transactions.”
The AMLC on Sept. 28 stated: “It has neither provided the Office of the Ombudsman with any report as a consequence of any investigation of subject accounts for any purpose.”
But the Inquirer’s Sept. 27 report showed Carandang admitting that the Ombudsman did not have the final report from the AMLC.
He was quoted as saying, “We can confirm that we received bank transactions coming from AMLC, generated by AMLC for intelligence purposes.”
The Office of the Ombudsman was equally silent in its Sept. 29 response, merely saying: “As to the documents in its possession, the Office stands by its word.”
Following is the full statement of the AMLC:
“The Anti-Money Laundering Council secretariat received on Sept. 6 the Aug. 17 letter of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, requesting it to initiate an investigation of subject accounts.
“We categorically stated before that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was not the source of the documents and information attached by Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV in his complaint regarding the alleged bank accounts of President Duterte.
“The AMLC has neither provided the Office of the Ombudsman with any report as a consequence of any investigation of subject accounts for any purpose.
“We have yet to evaluate the request and the initiation of an investigation. The release of any report on the subject will depend on such evaluation.
“Suffice it to state that in the attachment to the complaint, the alleged debits and credits representing outflows and inflows of funds were added together, thus, the resulting total amounts are wrong and misleading.
“Meanwhile, we cannot make further comments considering the confidential nature of the matter.”