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Ombudsman on disbarment case: Wish them luck

/ 02:27 PM March 24, 2017
NO LEAD Everything is just an allegation so far, says Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales when asked if shewill investigate Sen. Leila de Lima’s alleged links to drug trafficking activities at New Bilibid Prison when shewas then justice secretary. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

“Wish them luck.”
This was the message of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday to losing senatorial candidate Greco Belgica, who filed a disbarment case against Morales before the Supreme Court.
In a statement, Morales said “everyone is at liberty to file a complaint.”

The feisty graft buster said she is ready to face “head-on” the disbarment complaint “anytime, anywhere.

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READ: Losing senatorial bet files disbarment case vs Ombudsman
“Being charged is part of the territory. I am ready to meet head-on any complaint, anytime, anywhere,” she said.

Belgica, who ran and lost in the 2016 senatorial elections, cited the Ombudsman’s dismissal of the graft and technical malversation case against former President Benigno Aquino III in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) complaint.

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READ: Ombudsman hit for clearing Aquino on DAP

Belgica also vowed to file an impeachment complaint against Morales when Congress resumes after its break in May.

Morales was accused of violating the Lawyer’s Oath and the Canon of Professional Responsibility for acquitting Aquino in the DAP case.

Aquino’s former budget secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, meanwhile, was indicted with usurpation of powers.

READ: Abad indicted for usurpation of powers over DAP

In his disbarment complaint, Belgica said Morales’ action deprived the Filipino people of their right to procedural due process.

In her resolution, Morales acquitted Aquino and Abad of technical malversation and graft because they were mere “policy makers” and not “accountable public officers.”

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The Ombudsman also acquitted Aquino and Abad after finding no evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence because the DAP was “motivated by a good purpose to spur economic growth and boost the national economy.”

Morales added that there was no bad faith on the part of Aquino because when the latter was senator, he filed a bill seeking to limit executive influence on the General Appropriations Act and that Aquino knew beforehand that “acts of tinkering with the annual GAA and fiscal dictatorship are contrary to the Constitution.”
READ: Lawyers’ group insists Aquino, Abad liable for DAP

The DAP was a system of realigning savings to other agencies in a bid to stimulate the economy. It was perceived as President Aquino’s pork barrel fund. The Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional some practices under DAP.
Aquino appointed Morales as Ombudsman when the latter retired as Supreme Court associate justice in 2011.

She is set to retire on July 25 next year.

During the Meet the Inquirer forum in December 2016, Morales called the former President “corrupt-free.”

“You have to give it to him. He is corrupt-free,” Morales said.

Besides the DAP complaint,  Aquino was sued before the Ombudsman for alleged reckless imprudence resulting in homicide over the botched anti-terror raid Oplan Exodus that claimed the lives of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) cops in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. JE/rga

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TAGS: case, Conchita Carpio-Morales, disbarment, disbarment case, Greco Belgica, Ombudsman
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