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Solon tells Deputy Ombudsman Carandang: Don’t defy Duterte, go to SC

/ 06:59 PM February 04, 2018
Vicente Veloso

Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang should go to the Supreme Court instead of defying the suspension order issued on him by Malacañang Palace, according to Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, a former associate justice of the Court of Appeals.

Echoing the Palace’s stance, Veloso said the Supreme Court’s January 2014 ruling that invalidated the president’s disciplinary powers over high-ranking officials of the Office of the Ombudsman could still be reversed.

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In that ruling,t he SC declared Section 8 of the Ombudsman Act unconstitutional for infringing on the government watchdog’s independence.

In an interview with radio station dzBB on Sunday, Veloso justified the Palace’s disregard for the SC ruling, noting that it was reached by way of a split vote of 9-6.

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“[The jurisprudence] can change,” Veloso said. “So, if Carandang is adversely affected, he should go up to the Supreme Court. It’s not the Office of the President that will go there to seek declaratory relief because… the one with the cause of action as of now… is Carandang.”

Melchor Arthur H. Carandang

Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur H. Carandang (File photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

“It’s not unusual for the Supreme Court to get it wrong,” he added.

Veloso insisted that as appointees of the President, “the right to appoint carries with it the right to dismiss” even in the case of high-ranking Ombudsman officials.

“The law should be followed. No ifs, no buts. Whatever the law says, we should follow,” he said, continuing to invoke the unconstitutional Ombudsman Act provision.

Veloso played down the constitutional crisis unfolding between the executive and the Office of the Ombudsman, an indenpendent constitutional body.

According to Veloso, “the law is well-defined” and the refusal of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to enforce the suspension order is a “criminal offense.”

He again floated his proposal for the abolition of the Office of the Ombudsman, saying that Department of Justice, a part of the executive branch of government, could handle the task on its own.

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“The Office of the Ombudsman has become an office for persecution,” Veloso insisted.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been at loggerheads with Morales since Carandang disclosed details of the office’s investigation on his alleged hidden wealth.

This prompted Morales to shy away from the public eye for four months, until Carandang’s suspension forced her to denounce the Palace’s “patently unconstitutional” moves.

Morales is an aunt of Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, a daugher of the president. /atm

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TAGS: Conchita Carpio-Morales, Malacañang suspension order, Melchor Arthur Carandang, Office of the Ombudsman, Vicente Veloso
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