Ombudsman insists on constitutional duty to probe Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said on Sunday, October 1, that she will abide by her constitutional duty to continue the investigation into the wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"The Office has already stated its position; to abide by its constitutional duty. No need to add more," Morales said when asked to respond to Duterte's latest statements.

On Saturday, September 30, Duterte said he will snub the ongoing investigation of the Ombudsman, which is acting on the complaint of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that the President has P2.4 billion in his bank accounts, sourced possibly from ghost employees in Davao City when Duterte was mayor.

The President also challenged the Ombudsman to resign and let the Armed Forces of the Philippines investigate them both for corruption. Duterte earlier said he will set up a commission to investigate Morales and her office for payoffs in cases they file against public officials.

In an earlier statement, Morales said the office will not be intimidated by Duterte's threats. (READ: Filipinos urged to back Ombudsman's probe into Duterte's bank accounts)

"The President's announcement that he intends to create a commission to investigate the Ombudsman appears to have to do with this Office's ongoing investigation into issues that involve him. This Office, nonetheless, shall proceed with the probe, as mandated by the Constitution," Morales said.

She also stood by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang's media statements that they are in possession of Duterte's bank documents.

Morales has inhibited from all Duterte-related cases, owing to her family's ties to the President. Her brother is the father-in-law of Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Carandang earlier said the money flow in the bank accounts of the President and his family through the years totaled P1 billion.

In his speech on Saturday, Duterte hit Carandang for publicizing "fabricated evidence," and added that he would resign if it is proven that he has even as less as P200 million in his accounts.

"Imagine this, Carandang, mag – magdasal ka lang, Carandang. I'm not threatening you. Pagka-nagkaletse-letse ang Pilipinas, uunahin kita," the President said.

(Imagine this, Carandang, just pray, Carandang. I'm not threatening you. If the Philippines ends up in shambles, I'll go after you first.) – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

image