Panelo to question probe on Duterte’s wealth before SC
President Rodrigo Duterte’s Chief Legal Counsel on Friday said he was mulling to question before the Supreme Court the investigation of the Ombudsman on the Chief Executive’s alleged unexplained wealth.
Lawyer Salvador Panelo made the statement as he expressed worry that the Ombudsman’s move would undermine the immunity from suit of an incumbent president.
Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang had said they have acted upon a complaint filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on the alleged unexplained wealth of the President that supposedly amounts to billions.
“My theory now is that the Ombudsman investigation currently of the President is unconstitutional even if there is a provision in the Ombudsman law that it has investigatory power because to my mind, it will circumvent the doctrine of immunity of a sitting President from suits,” he told reporters.
Panelo said he was reviewing Section 22 of Republic Act No. 6770 that said the Ombudsman would have powers to probe impeachable officials.
He said he had called Solicitor General Jose Calida to study the issue.
“Then, we should decide to file it [to the Supreme Court] or not. The President may not want it,” he said.
In an interview with radio dzMM, Panelo said he would question the legality of the Ombudsman’s probe.
“I intend to file a petition with the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of that provision because it circumvents the doctrine of immunity of a sitting president,” he said.
He told reporters in Malacañang that the investigations against the President should be done after his term in office.
“Otherwise, the President will be tied, saddled with suits defending himself like what he’s doing now,” he said.
Duterte had earlier said he won’t submit himself to the Ombudsman’s probe, saying he would file an impeachment case against Ombudsman Chair Conchita Carpio-Morales.
The President has accused Ombudsman officials of “selective justice” and corruption.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.