Ombudsman confirms end of probe on alleged Duterte wealth


Posted at Feb 15 2018 04:22 PM | Updated as of Feb 15 2018 05:56 PM

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and President Rodrigo Duterte. Composite

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday confirmed that it has ended its investigation into the alleged undeclared wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, the Ombudsman confirmed its letter earlier made public by Solicitor General Jose Calida, which stated that the probe was already "closed and terminated."

The letter from the anti-graft body, which Calida showed the media on Tuesday, said the investigation into the President's wealth finished on Nov. 29, 2017.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council declined to provide “a report or confirmation on the requested vital data,” the Office of the Ombudsman said.

The Ombudsman last year opened an investigation into bank transactions of Duterte and his family in connection with
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV's allegations that the chief executive kept hidden wealth.

Calida said he was only informed of the termination of the Ombudsman's investigation after he wrote a letter to Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.

The Solicitor General had previously questioned why Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales did not inform the public that her office's investigation into allegations against the President had ended.

"She has the constitutional duty to publicize matters covered by investigation when circumstances so warrant it and with due prudence. This case involves the President of the Philippines. Why did she withhold this information?" he said.

The anti-graft body, however, said in its statement that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who had inhibited from the case, did not know about the resolution until January 29, 2018.

“The Office is not obliged to inform the subject of the fact-finding investigation about its outcome,” the Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement.

The Ombudsman's investigation had pitted the executive against the constitutional body, with the Palace filing grave misconduct charges against Carandang for the supposed illegal disclosure of the President's and his family’s bank transactions. 

In its statement, the anti-graft body noted that Calida, through his letter, recognized Carandang as the overall deputy ombudsman despite his Palace-ordered suspension.

"The Office sees this as a recognition of the unconstitutionality of the preventive suspension order,” it said.

-with a report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News