(UPDATED) Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte cannot prevent cops and soldiers from being investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman on cases of alleged abuse of their authority.
“Anong pakialam niya? Under the law we have subpoena powers,” Morales said.
Ombudsman Morales said no law bars them from investigating erring soldiers and policemen.
“There is no law which requires a soldier or a policeman or any respondent for that matter to seek clearance from anybody,” Morales said.
In Duterte's press conference after his State of the Nation Address last Monday, he said police and military forces who will be called to Ombudsman and Commission on Human Rights investigations will need prior approval from him.
Morales said if respondents in cases were duly notified but did not show up to air their side, the cases will still proceed.
“Tuloy ang kaso, irrespective whether (the police officer or soldier) answers or not,” Morales said.
The Ombudsman said her office is still investigating alleged abuses of policemen in the anti-drugs campaign of the Duterte administration.
“I’m awaiting the progress report of people in charge in the office because you know, they cannot be starting from scratch, they have to subpoena for documents,” Morales said.
Asked if she was invited to the SONA, Morales said she did not receive any invitation and she was also asked to fill a questionnaire if she will be attending.
“Why should I fill that up?” she said.
Morales said she did not feel offended for not being invited to the SONA.
“If there’s a party or event for which you are not invited and you know your friends are invited, I’m not sensitive about it,” she said.
Earlier this month, Duterte and Morales already exchanged fiery statements against each other.
Duterte had reacted to Morales' interview with Japanese public network NHK, where she said Duterte seemed to be “goading people to kill people.”
Duterte said he was trying hard not to say something against Morales, with whom he is related to by affinity. Morales, whose nephew Mans Carpio is married to Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.