Unfazed, Ombudsman to pursue probe of Duterte family's wealth

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2017 05:03 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2017 06:06 PM

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and President Rodrigo Duterte. Composite

MANILA- Feisty in the face of "retaliation," Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday said her office would proceed with the investigation of the wealth allegedly kept by President Rodrigo Duterte and his family despite the chief executive's plan to have a commission investigate alleged anomalies in her office.

"Sorry, Mr. President but this office shall not be intimidated," Morales said in a statement.

"The President's announcement that he intends to form a commission to investigate the Ombudsman appears to be a retaliation to our on-going investigation. We will, nonetheless, proceed with the probe, as mandated by the Constitution," Morales said. 

The President had on Thursday disclosed plans to form a commission that would investigate alleged anomalies at the Office of the Ombudsman, saying the agency was corrupt and biased towards his political foes.

Morales is an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III, leader of the opposition Liberal Party. She is serving a 7-year term that expires next year.

Duterte bared his plan after the anti-graft body confirmed that it has started looking into his and his family's bank transactions, prompted by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s allegations that he kept hidden wealth.

Responding to the President's allegations, Morales said her office is open to efforts that would help "cleanse our ranks," adding that the agency has removed employees who have committed offenses. 

"Our Internal Affairs Board has entrapped and removed Ombudsman officials and employees for various offenses," she said.

"As to the documents in our possession, we stand by our word. If the President has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear," she added.

Morales was making reference to the list of the first family's bank transactions, which Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang said the agency had obtained from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). 

In a statement on Thursday, the AMLC said it has not released any report to the Ombudsman as it has yet to evaluate its request for an investigation of the President's and his family's bank accounts.

Morales had inhibited from the case since her nephew, Manases Carpio, is the husband of the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Earlier this week, Carandang said the Duterte family’s transactions amount to hundreds of millions of pesos from different banks between 2006 until 2016. But he clarified that it was hard to say how much the deposits were in total, since money went in and out of the accounts.