Malacañang urges Martires: 'Immediately' enforce Carandang dismissal

NEW OMBUDSMAN. Newly appointed Ombudsman Samuel Martires attends his last flag raising ceremony as he bids farewell to colleagues and employees of the Supreme Court in Manila on July 30, 2018. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

NEW OMBUDSMAN. Newly appointed Ombudsman Samuel Martires attends his last flag raising ceremony as he bids farewell to colleagues and employees of the Supreme Court in Manila on July 30, 2018.

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang called on new Ombudsman Samuel Martires to "immediately" comply with the Palace dismissal of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.

"It's immediately executory and we would like the order to be implemented immediately, as soon as the new Ombudsman takes his oath," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a news briefing in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, on Friday, August 3.

Martires, appointed on July 26, has yet to take his oath of office. 

Malacañang ordered Carandang's dismissal days after President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Martires. The Palace had earlier suspended Carandang, who was in charge of a probe into Duterte's alleged ill-gotten wealth, for disclosing the President's bank records.

Then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales had defied the Palace order, citing a Supreme Court ruling that the President cannot impose disciplinary action on deputy ombudsmen.

Roque said Carandang can appeal Malacañang's decision.

"If the former Deputy Ombudsman Carandang disagrees with it he can avail of judicial review," he said.

Ombudsman's independence

The SC ruling in relation to the President's power to sanction deputy ombudsmen was meant to preserve the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman, and shield it from unnecessary pressure from the highest office.

Asked whether it was proper for Duterte to dismiss an official investigating his own supposed hidden wealth, Roque said the dismissal order was "based only on facts and the law."

"Clearly, he violated the Anti-Money Laundering Act himself when he made public certain documents which was later confirmed by AMLC not to be accurate. So it was really tsismis (rumor) and a matter that should have been handled on a confidential basis," said Roque.

However, AMLC in September 2017, merely denied that it gave the Office of the Ombudsman a final report on Duterte's bank transactions. It also denied it gave Senator Antonio Trillanes IV any documents on the President's bank accounts. Carandang had been quoted by media as saying the documents he possessed were "similar" to that of Trillanes.

Malacañang fired Carandang for allegedly violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees when he spoke in public about Duterte's bank transactions. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

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 pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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