No impasse over suspension of deputy ombudsman, Palace says
Malacanang insisted on Thursday that there was no impasse between the Executive and the Office of the Ombudsman on the suspension order against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.
In a press briefing in Baguio City, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte "is the chief implementor of the law and he will enforce the law."
"There is no impasse," he said.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has said she would not implement the 90-day suspension order of the Office of the Executive Secretary against Carandang, citing the 2014 Supreme Court decision that the Office of the President could not discipline the deputy ombudsman for being independent.
Roque reiterated that Carandang was given 10 days from January 29 to respond on the order of his suspension as well as on the administrative charge against him.
Carandang's suspension came amid his investigation against President Rodrigo Duterte and some members of his family for allegedly amassing ill-gotten wealth. The probe was launched following the complaint filed by opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Trillanes has said what Malacanang has been doing against Carandang was obstruction of justice.
Roque challenged Trillanes to just file a new impeachment complaint against Duterte since he could not be investigated nor charged being a sitting president.
He stressed that Duterte is immune from suit.
Roque also hit the opposition for riding on Carandang's suspension.
"What do we expect from the opposition?," he said.
"Now interestingly, it was President (Benigno) Aquino (III) that actually removed, I think not one, not two but even three deputy ombudsmen. So let’s just say to the opposition, that they have the same view that the president has the power to discipline all unimpeachable officers," he added.
The 2014 Supreme Court decision came after the previous administration tried to remove then Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III and others. But Gonzales challenged the constitutionality of Section 8(2) of RA No. 6770 or The Ombudsman Act of 1989.
"In the voting held on January 28, 2014, by a vote of 8-7, the Court resolved to reverse its September 4, 2012 Decision insofar as petitioner Gonzales is concerned (G.R. No. 196231). We declared Section 8(2) of RA No. 6770 unconstitutional by granting disciplinary jurisdiction to the President over a Deputy Ombudsman, in violation of the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman," the SC said in the decision penned by former Associate Justice Arturo Brion. Celerina Monte/DMS