SolGen on Ombudsman defying Malacañang: courting a 'Constitutional Crisis'

SolGen on Ombudsman defying Malacañang: courting a 'Constitutional Crisis'

The Ombudsman continues to defy Malacañang.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales is still crossing swords with Malacañan. And she will not budge as against the perceived attacks and pressure being mounted by the present administration as against the institution she is leading.

Solicitor General warns the Ombudsman of starting a “constitutional crisis” if she continues to defy Malacañang’s suspension of her deputy. "She is moving towards a constitutional crisis if that is her position. We are ready to defend the actions of the office of the president,"  SolGen Calida said.  *
Solicitor General Jose Calida and Ombudsman Concita Morales (photo credit to ABS-CBN)

Early this week Malacañang filed administrative charges and has handed down a 90 day preventive suspension against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, who happens to be the one leading the investigation regarding the wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement released to the media, Morales stated that this is direct attack on the Ombudsman’s independence.

"It has become clear that the act of the Office of the President in taking cognizance of the complaints against the Overall Deputy Ombudsman and ordering his preventive suspension was not an inadvertent error but a clear affront to the Supreme Court and an impairment of the constitutionally enshrined independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.”

Morales further asserts that the actions by Malacañang is in direct violation as what has been resolved by the Supreme Court in one of its previous decisions.

"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," said the Ombudsman. 

The Ombudsman was referring to a 2014 decision where the SC declared  unconstitutional a provision in the Ombudsman Act of 1989 granting the Office of the President the power to remove from office a deputy ombudsman. *

The suspension order came from the charges filed against Carandang for grave misconduct  for the supposed illegal disclosure of the President Duterte and his family’s bank transactions.

Malacañang also handed down a 90 day preventive suspension as against Carandang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explains that the case stems from the complaint filed by Manuelito Luna and Eligio Mallari against Carandang in October last year.

Carandang has made a previous statement that the Office of the Ombudsman had started looking into the wealth of the President and his family, and that all of this actions are with coordination with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), however categorically stated that it has not released any report to the Ombudsman as it has yet to evaluate its request for an investigation of the President's and his family's alleged illegal bank accounts.

“Carandang not only violated the Bank Secrecy Law and all the laws proscribing disclosure of confidential information and secrets as well as details relative to the fact-finding, but also grossly misrepresented the facts, if not indulged in misinformation calculated to undermine the integrity of the Anti-Money Laundering Council and bring about the weakening of the institution of the Presidency,” Luna and Mallari said in their complaint.  *

"His disclosures of the inflows and outflows of funds, amounts of the account deposits, nature of the bank deposits, depositors’ names, and other details are not benign, but are calculated to destabilize the economy, if not the entire Government.”

Solicitor General Jose Calida has made a position that President Duterte has authority to discipline a deputy ombudsman  and asserts that he is very much ready to defend the Palace’s position before the Supreme Court.

And the Ombudsman continues to defy the order, they are considering filing charges also against the Ombudsman herself.

"We can even file a case against the Ombudsman for coddling this Carandang. I will not telegraph my punches," the  SolGen  said.
Report from ABS-CBN

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