Raps filed vs Ombudsman's officials probing Duterte's wealth
ormer Negros Oriental Representative Jacinto Paras and other private lawyers filed on Tuesdayseparate complaints, calling for the removal from office, of the officials of the Office of the Ombudsman investigating the alleged hidden wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family.
The complaints by Paras and lawyer Glenn Chong and that of lawyers Manuelito Luna and Eligio Mallari were filed before the Office of the Executive Secretary at Mabini Hall in Malacanang Complex, Manila at around 11am.
Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang, the head of the fact-finding team investigating Duterte, was the lone respondent in the Paras-Chong complaint, while Carandang, Deputy Ombudsman for Midnanao Rodolfo Elman and members of the investigation team were the respondents in the Luna-Mallari complaint.
Both their administrative complaints alleged that the respondents violated Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law and the basis for their call to remove the respondents from office was Section 8(2) of RA No. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989, which provides that "a Deputy or Special Prosecutor, may be removed from office by the President for any of the grounds provided for the removal of the Ombudsman, and after due process."
Specifically, the Luna-Mallari complaint alleged that Carandang was "guilty of graft and corruption" under Section 3(e), (k) of RA 3019 for divulging valuable information of a confidential character, referring to the alleged records of the bank transactions of the President from the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
They also accused Carandang of betrayal of public trust for "falsely and maliciously claiming that the AMLC had issued a report regarding the alleged bank transactions of Duterte and for disclosing it in a media interview on September 27.
The ALMC has denied issuing any record of Duterte's bank transactions to the Office of the Ombudsman.
As to Elman, the lawyers accused him of violation of Republic Act No. 1405 or the Bank Secrecy Law for mere possession of information relative to account deposits and transactions of the President and thus, should be removed from office.
As to the members of the fact-finding team, their mere possession of documents records was sufficient enough to warrant their dismissal for gross misconduct, the lawyers said.
The Ombudsman has been investigating the alleged undeclared wealth of the President and his family on the complaint of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
"Carandang has blindly sided with Sen. Trillanes IV and is biased against the President. He has indulged in favoritism as well as tyrannically abused his power. If this is not betrayal of public trust, complaints do not know what it is," Luna and Mallari said.
Paras and Chong, on the other hand, also alleged Carandang of grave misconduct and gross dishonesty constituting betrayal of public trust.
They alleged that Carandang's act in putting Duterte in disrepute "is part of the destabilization plot which respondent may be a part of."
They cited that Carandang and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales were appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III, whom they accused of leading the political opposition who is in cahoots with Tindig Pilipinas, a group seeking Duterte's resignation.
"Their loyalties lie with Aquino," they said.
"It can be fairly concluded that the disclosure made by respondent Carandang by making it appear that the President is a corrupt official is calculated to weaken and cause distrust in the President by the people, thereby enhancing the strength of the political opposition with the end result of power grab," they stressed. Celerina Monte/DMS