Filipinos urged to back Ombudsman's probe into Duterte's bank accounts

MANILA, Philippines – A coalition opposing the "abusive" policies of President Rodrigo Duterte called for support for the Office of the Ombudsman, after the President announced he will set up an independent body to probe its alleged corrupt practices.

"Unlike the President who has repeatedly displayed his utter lack of understanding of our Constitution, the Ombudsman understands its role – to safeguard our people from the excesses and abuses of those in power, without fear or favor," Tindig Pilipinas said in a statement on Sunday, October 1.

"He fails to understand that nowhere in our Constitution is the President given the power to investigate the Ombudsman. There are constitutional limits to petty and boorish behavior," added the coalition composed of opposition politicians and several civil society organizations. 

Tindig Pilipinas said the public should support the "growing number of institutions and public officials who are beginning to regain their voice."

The coalition also reminded the President that institutions were established to serve the people and not one's "whims."

Also expressing support for Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was feminist social media movement #EveryWoman, composed of activists and politicians, who slammed Duterte's "toxic machismo." 

"Obviously the President needs to be taught the real meaning of courage and integrity. Courage isn't shouting at the top of your lungs and threatening anyone who gets in your way. Integrity is not about silencing people so that your shenanigans can stay hidden and you can strut around like some emperor," the group said.

"Courage is to do your constitutional duty at whatever cost. Integrity is to be transparent in all your dealings because you are accountable and have nothing to hide."

#EveryWoman lauded Morales for being one of the women who wield power with "courage and integrity."

Duterte on Friday, September 29, said in a PTV interview that he will seek subpoena powers from the court to investigate the Ombudsman through an "independent" commission.  

This came after the Ombudsman said last week that it was looking into the President's bank accounts due to alleged undeclared wealth.

The Ombudsman launched its probe following the plunder complaint filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV against Duterte a few days ahead of the May 2016 elections.

Duterte said on Sunday that he will not cooperate with the Ombudsman's probe. (READ: Duterte to Morales, Sereno: Let's resign, let AFP probe us– Rappler.com