Office of the President orders dismissal of Carandang who probed Duterte's alleged ill-gotten wealth
The Office of the President has ordered the dismissal from service of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang for disclosing to the public the alleged multi-billion peso bank transactions of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued the order on July 30 despite the prevailing jurisprudence that the president has no disciplinary jurisdiction over a Deputy Ombudsman.
Medialdea said Carandang was liable for graft and corruption and betrayal of public trust.
According to Medialdea, Carandang's penalty of dismissal from service carries with it cancellation of his eligibility, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, bar from taking civil service examinations, and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
Prior to the dismissal order, the Office of the President early this year ordered Carandang's 90-day preventive suspension.
But then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales refused to implement the suspension order, citing the Gonzales III v. Office of the President case, which the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that the president has no jurisdiction over the Deputy Ombudsman because it violates the constitutionality enshrined about the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Carpio-Morales, who was an appointee of the previous administration, ended her seven-year term on July 26. She was replaced by then Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires, Duterte's first appointee in the high court.
Carandang's case stemmed from his disclosure to the media in September 2017 that his office was investigating Duterte and his family based on the complaint filed by opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for having allegedly accumulated ill-gotten wealth amounting to billions of pesos.
Carandang claimed that the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) acquired evidence of the alleged ill-gotten wealth in the form of bank transaction records supposedly from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). The AMLC later denied providing the OMB of such transactions.
Private lawyers, allegedly allied to the president, filed complaints against Carandang for graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and unauthorized disclosure because of his alleged manifest partiality and for illegally divulging valuable confidential information acquired in his official capacity.
They also alleged that Carandang sided with Trillanes and indulged in favoritism, tyrannically abusing his power.
Carandang also allegedly betrayed public trust when he falsely and maliciously claimed that the AMLC has issued a report regarding the alleged bank transaction, which allegedly undermined the integrity of the AMLC and brought about the weakening of the institution of the presidency.
Also included in the complaints were Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman and members of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao fact-finding investigation team/field investigation unit.
In his answer to the complaints, Carandang insisted that the OP has no jurisdiction over the Overall Deputy Ombudsman, citing the Gonzales III v. Office of the President case.
In the same order, Medialdea dismissed the charges against Elman and the members of the fact-finding investigation team for "lack of substantial evidence."
Early this year, the OMB ended the investigation over Duterte and his family's alleged ill-gotten wealth due to AMLC's refusal to provide valid documents.
Carandang has 15 days from receipt to file a motion for reconsideration before the OP or he could file an appeal before a higher court. Celerina Monte/DMS