Morales refuses to enforce ‘unconstitutional’ suspension of deputy Ombudsman
Finally breaking her silence, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales maintained on Wednesday that her office will not enforce Malacañang’s suspension order against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, claiming it is unconstitutional.
Saying that the recent spate of events was a “great cause of concern,” Morales said that she would not “allow herself to betray her sworn duty to uphold the Constitution.”
Morales’ reaction came after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the suspension of Carandang despite issues raised on its constitutionality. The Supreme Court, in 2014, declared such move as unconstitutional.
Malacañang announced on Monday that it preventively suspended Carandang for 90 days after he made public the documents related to Duterte’s bank accounts.
“The recent spate of events poses a great cause for concern. With the institutional significance and national interest involved, the Ombudsman is constrained to now state her position on the matter,” Morales said in a statement.
“The Ombudsman cannot, (s)eriously place at risk the independence of the very Office which she has pledged to protect on the strength of the constitutional guarantees which the High Court has upheld,” she said.
Morales called Malacañang’s order as a “clear affront” the High Court and “an impairment of the constitutionally enshrined independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.”
“In a society founded on the rule of law, the arbitrary disregard of a clearly worded jurisprudence coupled with a confident stance that it will be changed should never be countenanced,” she said.
Morales cited the SC’s Jan. 28, 2014 decision declaring as unconstitutional Section 8 (2) of the Ombudsman Act (Republic Act 6770), which provides that “a Deputy or the Special Prosecutor may be removed from office by the President or any of the grounds provided for the removal of the Ombudsman and after due process.”
“Like any government official, the Ombudsman has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. The Ombudsman will thus not allow herself to betray her sworn duty to uphold the Constitution by recognizing what is patently unconstitutional as ordained by the Supreme Court en banc in Gonzales III v. Office of the President (G.R. No. 196231, 28 January 2014),” she said. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.