Palace distances from plea to suspend PAO chief Acosta
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang vowed not to interfere with the appeal of lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) before the Ombudsman to suspend the agency’s head Persida Acosta for alleged corruption.
“As a matter of policy, the President does not interfere in the work, function, (or) the activity of any constitutional body or any branch of the government. Let the law takes its course,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing Thursday.
In a statement submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, the lawyers accused Acosta and her allies including forensics chief Erwin Erfe of having a “systematic scheme” for defrauding the government by doctoring purchase orders to make agency funds available to Acosta.
Panelo, who is also President Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the Palace will not step in and will instead let the Ombudsman do its work.
But when asked if the PAO chief should take leave to give way for the investigation, Panelo said: “Na kay chief Acosta na ‘yun.”
Nonetheless, the Palace official said Duterte, in the absence of “probable cause,” still trusts Acosta but insisted that the President will heed the Ombudsman decision.
“Palagi naman si President hanggang walang findings of probable cause, palaging nandun ang trust. Pero pag may probable cause na ibang usapan ‘yun then there will suspension na galing sa Ombudsman, eh hindi naman teritoryo ni President ‘yun eh,” he said. /je
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