Duterte to Morales, Sereno: Let’s resign
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday dared Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign with him.
"I challenge the two. We will go to Congress, in a simple ceremony, we sign the letter of resignation. Then let us open all the (bank) books, even yours," Duterte said during the installation of new officers and induction of new members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao City Chapter.
Duterte accused again Carpio of selective justice for focusing on Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's allegations against him instead of acting on the complaints filed before her office years ago.
"Morales gives priority on those cases, which were filed long ago. You are in on a selective justice.. why are you prioritizing (the complaint) against us, which is not true?," he said.
The Office of the Ombudsman has said that it is now conducting an investigation on the alleged hidden wealth of the President and his family members. Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang, who is in charge of the probe, has said that they have secured from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) alleged bank transactions, which were more or less look like the documents submitted by Trillanes.
AMLC, in a statement issued earlier, denied that it released bank documents pertaining to Duterte's alleged bank transactions.
The President even read the AMLC's statement during the IBP event.
Sereno, on the other hand, is facing an impeachment complaint before the House committee on justice for alleged culpable violation of the Constitution, graft and corruption, other high crimes, and betrayal of public trust. She denied the allegations.
With the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman on his wealth, Duterte compared himself to late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona who was impeached in 2012.
"What happened to Corona is happening to me," he said.
He also slammed IBP President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo for saying that politicians should not be onion-skinned.
"And you just told me, don't be onion-skinned, in face of fabrication and illegally obtained.. That's onion-skinned? How about my right again to freedom of expression?," he said.
"So there are lies based on baseless hundreds of millions and even if I wanted to steal, where will I get that amount?" he added.
Last Friday, Fajardo made a statement after Duterte warned of creating a commission that would investigate the Ombudsman.
"Public officials must not be onion-skinned. Public office is a public trust. Upon assumption of public office, a government official holds his life open to public scrutiny," he has said.
But the President said he could also investigate Morales despite being an impeachable official.
"Who will investigate her? There's a vacuum in the law. Impeachment? Who will do the legwork of investigation? I can do it because I have the authority to investigate. I am not saying that I will-- only factual," he said.
He said he would ask for the records and talk to the former policemen and other people who were "unjustly convicted" because of the Ombudsman.
"And I will encourage them to file a case (against Morales)," he said.
In a statement last Friday, the Office of the Ombudsman said it was not intimidated by Duterte's threat to investigate its officials. Ella Dionisio/DMS