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Carandang dismissal ‘founded on facts, law’

The dismissal order against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang was “founded on both facts and the law,” and hence was not illegal or unethical, Malacañang said on Friday.

“Clearly, he violated the Anti-Money Laundering Act himself when he made public certain documents which were later on confirmed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to be not accurate,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Bukidnon.

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Roque’s statement was in reaction to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s criticism that Malacañang’s decision to dismiss Carandang was “unethical and unconstitutional.”

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea fired Carandang on Wednesday for disclosing details of the Ombudsman’s investigation of President Duterte’s unexplained wealth.

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The dismissal came with the cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, prohibition from taking civil service examinations, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

‘For political reasons’

Roque said it was unethical for Carandang to have “used his office for political reasons.”

“That is clearly what motivated him to use unverified information from the AMLC in a manner that is contrary to law,” the spokesperson said.

While Carandang can still appeal the dismissal order through a judicial review, the dismissal order remains “immediately executory.”

Roque said incoming Ombudsman Samuel Martires would be given the opportunity to implement the dismissal order as soon as he takes his oath of office.

In a dispatch from detention, Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday said the dismissal of Carandang was a signal to Martires that he should not question Malacañang’s authority over his subordinates.

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‘Closer to dictatorship’

The opposition senator said Carandang’s dismissal, which the Office of the President enforced shortly after the retirement of Martires’ predecessor, Conchita Carpio Morales, showed Mr. Duterte’s lack of respect for the law.

“Duterte is telling incoming Ombudsman Martires that he is better off not to question Malacañang’s usurpation of the Ombudsman’s disciplinary authority over his deputies,” she said.

At the same time, De Lima said, the President is “ensuring the impotence of independent investigative bodies” such as the Office of the Ombudsman, “unless Martires does the right thing and stands up to Malacañang’s challenge.”

She said the President’s action exemplified how “impunity is running this government, and how closer to a dictatorship we have become.”

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TAGS: AMLC, Carandang, Ombudsman, Palace
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