Duterte to form commission probing Ombudsman's 'partiality'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — The President said he may create a commission to investigate what he calls "partiality" of the Office of the Ombudsman.

"You'll be investigated also. One of these days, kayo ang sigurado kong hahabulin dahil nga 'yang partiality ninyo [we will run after you due to your partiality]," President Rodrigo Duterte said in an interview with Erwin Tulfo on state-run PTV show Sa Totoo Lang Thursday.

"'Pag hindi niyo imbestigahan ang sarili ninyo, ako ang mag-setup ng commission to investigate you. As a president with investigating powers, magkagulo tayo kasi sino ang mag-imbestiga sa kalokohan ninyo?" Duterte added.

[Translation: If you don't investigate yourselves, I will set up a commission to investigate you. As a president with investigating powers, we'll have problems, because who will investigate you?]

Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang said he received a report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) supposedly revealing a ₱1-billion cash flow on Duterte's bank accounts.

Duterte said that while he accepts an investigation on him as a government official, he posed a challenge to the Office of the Ombudsman.

"Kayong mga ombudsman, hanapin ninyo 'yan. Kasi kung makukuha niyo 'yang ₱211 million. Maghati tayo, sabihin ko sa inyo. Tapos mag-demanda kayo ng kaso. Walang problema 'yan," Duterte claimed.

[Translation: You Ombudsmen, look into that. If you manage to get hold of ₱211 million, let's split it, I tell you. Then file cases. That isn't a problem.]

Duterte also pointed out cases against the opposition Liberal Party did not progress.

"Puro naman sila may DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) cases. Bakit 'yung mga Liberal? [They all have DAP cases. What about the Liberal? ] Are you beholden to the liberals because… ang ombudsman?" he said.

The administration of former President Beningo Aquino III introduced DAP to fasttrack spending. However, the Supreme Court ruled DAP as unconstitutional in 2014.

The President added there is corruption in the constitutional body.

When asked if the Office of the Ombudsman is still subject to bribes, the President answered, "Ah oo, sigurado 'yan [Yes, for sure.]."

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has delegated cases involving the Duterte family to Carandang after inhibiting herself, as she is the aunt of Manases Carpio, the husband of presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Meanwhile, Carandang confirmed the probe on the first family's wealth, in response to a plunder complaint by Sen. Antonio Trillanes to Duterte during the 2016 presidential campaign.

But AMLC said it is still evaluating the August 17 request of Carandang for a report on the Duterte family's wealth. AMLC said it received the request on September 6.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Thursday welcomed the probe on the President's bank records.

"He respects the internal processes and if at all, and if they really truly have substantial evidence. We trust their impartiality on the matter," he said.

Under the Constitution, the Ombudsman is an independent office tasked to probe into public authorities and take appropriate actions against them if found erring or committing crimes against the public.