Palace backs new Ombudsman exec who faced rob, extort raps | Inquirer News
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Palace backs new Ombudsman exec who faced rob, extort raps

/ 05:02 AM October 23, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang has defended its appointment of Melchor Arthur H. Carandang as Overall Deputy Ombudsman to succeed Orlando Casimiro who retired.

President Aquino signed Carandang’s appointment papers on Oct. 14 but it was announced only on Tuesday by Secretary Herminio Coloma, head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

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Carandang, a former assistant ombudsman, had been charged with robbery and extortion in the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

The case, however, was dismissed by Quezon City Chief Prosecutor Donald Lee.

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The case stemmed from a corruption investigation involving a finance officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The investigation was handled by Carandang, then Assistant Ombudsman.

Lee couldn’t recall the names and other details surrounding the case when contacted by phone on Tuesday.

But he remembered that a certain military “finance officer” had filed the extortion case against Carandang in the QCPO.

The same officer had been investigated by Carandang and another lawyer from the Office of the Ombudsman for failing a lifestyle check, said Lee.

Originally, the complaint for extortion was dismissed in a resolution, which was approved by the officer in charge of the QCPO, Richard Anthony Fadullon, in late 2010 or early 2011.

The complainant then filed a motion for reconsideration, which fell on the lap of Lee, who was the chief city prosecutor at the time.

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Coloma said Carandang’s appointment went through the usual screening process of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which forwarded his name and that of several other nominees to the Office of the President.

Carandang, a consultant in the Office of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, was selected over the other nominees who were also vetted by the JBC—Commissioner Gerard Mosquera of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, Ombudsman graft investigator Roque Dator and Commission on Elections Director for Planning Ferdinand Rafanan.

Carandang is related to Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang.

“He’s a distant relative,” said Secretary Carandang, who quickly added: “I don’t exactly know how he is related (to me).”

As assistant ombudsman under former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, Carandang in 2006 headed Task Force Abono, which investigated the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, which misused government funds in the purchase of overpriced liquid fertilizer.

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Palace names new overall deputy Ombudsman

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TAGS: Appointments, Melchor Arhur H. Carandang, Office of Ombudsman
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