Ombudsman Morales on Alvarez’s ouster: ‘Nothing is permanent’
The ouster of former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez shows that “nothing is permanent.”
This was the remark of outgoing Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales when asked for her take on the controversial power grab that escalated in Congress hours before President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.
“Well, nothing is permanent. That was the choice of the majority of the congressmen to have a new leader,” Morales said in a press conference at her office on Tuesday.
Morales was unfazed by former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rise to the House speakership.
“I was ‘dedma’ (unfazed). That’s the pleasure of the members of Congress to elect her as speaker. So, I did not feel anything,” the outgoing Ombudsman said.
Dismissed plunder case vs Arroyo
To recall, Morales’ office filed on July 16, 2012 a P366 million plunder case against Arroyo and several others for alleged misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The Sandiganbayan issued an arrest warrant against Arroyo on October 4, 2012.
Arroyo was detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center at the time for electoral sabotage. Days after, the court allowed Arroyo’s continued hospital arrest.
In August 2014, Arroyo’s camp filed a “demurrer to evidence,” or a pleading for the dismissal of charges due to insufficient evidence. The Sandiganbayan denied the pleading in April 2015.
Arroyo’s camp elevated the case to the Supreme Court (SC). In July 2016, the SC granted the former President’s pleading and acquitted her by an 11-4 vote.
Morales said she was still firm in her belief that the prosecution’s evidence against Arroyo was “very strong.”
“The Sandiganbayan was, I believe, correct in denying the demurrer to evidence, but when it got to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court said the evidence was weak, and as I said, the Supreme Court has spoken,” she said.
Not invited to Sona
Meanwhile, when asked by the media why she did not attend President Duterte’s third Sona at the House of Representatives, Morales said she was not invited.
Morales also said she was not invited to President’s first nor his second Sona.
“I was not invited. Neither was I invited last year, nor the first year of the Sona of the President,” Morales said. I don’t feel anything bad because that’s the prerogative of the inviting entity.” /vvp
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