Duterte threatens to probe Ombudsman officials
President Rodrigo Duterte has warned he will create a commission that will investigate the officials of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Duterte's warning came after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales admitted that Duterte and his family are being investigated for their alleged undeclared billions of pesos in the banks.
"You have to be investigated also. One of these days, I will surely go after you because of your partiality," he said in a recorded interview on Wednesday but aired by state-run People's Television Network on Thursday.
"If you won't investigate yourselves, I will set up a commission to investigate you as a president with investigating powers," he said.
He threatened that trouble will erupt.
"Who will investigate your wrongdoings? What is the remedy of the Filipino if you'll be the one asking (for money). Don't fool me. Don’t force my hand into it. I will set up a commission to investigate the Ombudsman, the institution itself and all," he said.
Section 2, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution provides that the Ombudsman may be removed from office "on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment."
On the other hand, Republic Act No. 6770, or The Ombudsman Act of 1989 states that Deputy, or the 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.
Duterte, who had been a mayor for about 23 years before elected to the presidency in 2016, said the Ombudsman has been investigating him ever since.
"It didn't stop. It's okay. I'm in the government," he said.
But he challenged the officials of the Ombudsman to look for his P211 million bank deposits as alleged by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, his staunch critic and who filed a complaint before the Ombudsman to probe into Duterte family's alleged ill-gotten wealth, results of which could be used to file impeachment complaint against the President.
Section 22 of RA 6770 provides that the Office of the Ombudsman shall have the power to investigate any serious misconduct in office allegedly committed by officials removable by impeachment, for the purpose of filing a verified complaint for impeachment, if warranted.
But while Duterte dared the Ombudsman to look into his wealth, he also asked the anti-graft body to investigate also Trillanes, who allegedly misused fund from the Disbursement Acceleration Program of the previous administration.
He said he did not see anyone from the Liberal Party, political party of former President Benigno Aquino III, being investigated by the Ombudsman.
"Are you beholden to the Liberal?," he said.
Morales, who is an aunt of the husband of presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, was Aquino's appointee. Celerina Monte/DMS