SC junks disbarment case vs Ombudsman Morales
(Updated, 2:55 p.m.) The Supreme Court has dismissed outright the disbarment case filed against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
During Tuesday’s en banc, SC decided to dismiss the disbarment complaint for lack of merit.
The high court noted that in the cases of Lecaroz v. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 56384 March 22, 1984), Cuenco v. Fernan (A.M. No. 3135 Feb. 17, 1988), Re: Raul M. Gonzales (A.M. No. 88-4 5433, April 15, 1988), Jarque v. Desierto (A.C. No. 4509, Dec. 5, 1995), and Lastimosa-Dalawampu v. Deputy Ombudsman Mojica et al. (A.C. No. 4683, Aug. 6, 1997), they repeatedly stated that a member of the Bar who holds office that may only be removed by impeachment cannot be charged with disbarment during his or her incumbency.
“The Ombudsman is part of the short list of public officers who may be removed only by impeachment,” the high court said.
The complaint was filed by losing senatorial candidate Greco Belgica.
In a 12-page complaint, Belgica, a former Manila city councilor said Morales violated the Lawyer’s Oath and the Canon of Professional Responsibility after she dismissed the graft and technical malversation case against former President Benigno Aquino III in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Belgica said while he was aware that the Ombudsman is an impeachable officer, he was not seeking Morales’ disbarment for now.
But the high court said Belgica’s logic is faulty.
“[Belgica’s logic] clearly contravenes the established principle that the Ombudsman, who may be removed from office only by impeachment, cannot be charged with disbarment during her incumbency. IDL
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