MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, August 29, accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of administering "selective justice."
"It seems that the Office of the Ombudsman has mastered the art of selective justice, hard on some, soft on others," said the President in front of new government appointees in Malacañang.
The Office of the Ombudsman, he continued, appeared to be "slow to act on complaints against the friendly but quick to decide against perceived hostiles."
He said Morales was unable to act on complaints with "cold neutrality" and "impartiality."
The President also criticized how the Ombudsman had handled the corruption cases against lawmakers in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
He suggested that he wanted the Ombudsman to "wind down" on their cases.
"Bakit ang Ombudsman, matagal na siya diyan, natapos na si Aquino (Why is the Ombudsman, she's been there long, Aquino's term is over), why can't they just wind up the cases against the senators?" he said.
Duterte cited the cases of former senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada as examples of Morales' supposed selective justice.
He noted that while the Supreme Court allowed former senator Juan Ponce Enrile – also charged of plunder for alleged misuse of the pork barrel scam – to post bail, how come Revilla and Estrada were still in jail?
"If you allow a certain person to post bail, there is absolutely no grounds, legal or otherwise, bakit 'yung iba hindi mo gawin (why don't you do it for others)?" he asked.
In 2015, the High Court granted Enrile's petition to post bail, citing his age and his health. The former senator was 91 at the time and was under hospital arrest.
Duterte also said the Ombudsman's decision to file graft charges against Senator Gregorio Honasan II, also in connection with the pork barrel scam, was yet another indication of Morales' selective justice.
"The latest is Gringo Honsasan. Naawa ako sa kanya kasi hindi klaro eh (I pity him because the case isn't clear)," he said.
Duterte met Honasan in Malacañang on August 16.
Morales had been accused of issuing politically-motivated resolutions even during the previous administration. She had urged her critics to impeach her if they believed she had committed any impeachable offense. (READ: 'Impeach me,' Ombudsman dares critics) – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.