SolGen Calida: Carandang failed to fulfill his mandate, liable under AMLA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — The top government lawyer on Wednesday said Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang failed in his mandate to protect the people over the probe on President Rodrigo Duterte's wealth.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said Carandang is liable under the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (AMLA) by falsely claiming to have reports on Duterte's bank records given by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), which revealed a cash flow worth P1 billion.

"As Deputy Ombudsman, he failed to fulfill his mandate under the Constitution. In fact, he can and will be liable under the AMLA," Calida said in a statement.

The AMLC denied providing the Ombudsman any report on Duterte's accounts.

Calida then cited the AMLA, which states that any person, who, with malice or in bad faith, reports or files a completely unwarranted or false information relative to money laundering transactions against any person, shall be penalized to six months up to four years of imprisonment and a fine not less than P100,000.

"These public statements recklessly issued by DO Carandang unfairly created the impression that he has authentic official records from the AMLC showing billions of pesos in the account of President Duterte," Calida said.

Carandang earlier confirmed the office is conducting an investigation on Duterte's wealth over a plunder complaint filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Carandang is also facing administrative charges for alleged corruption and betrayal of public trust.

Morales 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.

"The Office of the Ombudsman is mandated to protect the people, not mislead them," Calida said. "Carandang, however, willingly allowed himself to be a tool for political harassment. There is a clear case of grave misconduct on the part of DO Carandang as any publicity issued by the Office of the Ombudsman must be balanced, fair and true."