PH Ombudsman Morales does not recognize unconstitutional suspension of a deputy ombudsman

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales

OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales said on Wednesday her office will not betray her sworn duty to uphold the Constitution by recognizing the unconstitutional 90-day suspension that Malacañang imposed on Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.

In a statement sent to the media, Morales stressed that the recent spate of events poses a great cause for concern. She also said that with the institutional significance and national interest involved, she is constrained to now state her position on the matter.

Morales said “like any government official, the Ombudsman has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. The Ombudsman will thus not allow herself to betray her sworn duty to uphold the Constitution by recognizing what is patently unconstitutional as ordained by the Supreme Court en banc in Gonzales III v. Office of the President (G.R. No. 196231, 28 January 2014).”

Morales explained that “in Gonzales III, the Supreme Court categorically declared unconstitutional the administrative disciplinary jurisdiction of the President over deputy ombudsmen.”

“The Ombudsman cannot, therefore, seriously place at risk the independence of the very Office which she has pledged to protect on the strength of the constitutional guarantees which the High Court has upheld.”

Morales further said that “it has become clear that the act of the Office of the President in taking cognizance of the complaints against the Overall Deputy Ombudsman (Arthur Carandang) and ordering his preventive suspension was not an inadvertent error but a clear affront to the Supreme Court and an impairment of the constitutionally enshrined independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.”

“In a society founded on the rule of law, the arbitrary disregard of a clearly worded jurisprudence coupled with a confident stance that it will be changed should never be countenanced,” she added.

Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang © newsinfo.inquirer.net

 

Malacañang on Monday formally charged Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang and suspended him for 90 days for allegedly prematurely disclosing “unauthenticated” documents about the bank transactions of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family members.

Spokesperson Harry Roque. Image © PCOO

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press conference in Malacañang, the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) has “formally charged” Carandang with “grave misconduct” and “grave dishonesty.” He added the OES found Carandang guilty of “divulging valuable information of a confidential character acquired by his office or by him on account of his position.”

Roque said the charges stemmed from Carandang’s announcement wherein he claimed various transactions involving Duterte’s bank accounts amounted to P1 billion and that these transactions were indicated in documents from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

“We have found probable cause to charge him and he’s now made to answer in 10 days,” said Roque.

The presidential spokesperson said there is nothing unconstitutional with the suspension order even after reporters cited the Supreme Court ruling on Gonzales III vs the Office of the President (GR No. 196231).

(Read More: http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2014/jan2014/gr_196231_2014.html)

Moreover, Roque insists that only the Ombudsman is an impeachable official, not so the deputies.

 

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