Ombudsman to remain hands off on Duterte cases

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 09 2016 04:02 PM

Principal sponsors President Rodrigo Duterte and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales walk down the aisle together at a wedding at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros Manila on Sept. 17, 2016. Malacanang photo

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales once again declared that she will not participate in any cases filed before her office that will involve President Rodrigo Duterte and his family.

"I take no part in cases against (President) Duterte and his family. I'm not participating on cases or matter that have a bearing with Duterte," Morales sai
d in a brief interview with reporters at the sideline of a forum on corruption in Pasig City.

Carpio-Morales is the aunt-in-law of the president's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Cases of plunder, and most recently today, cases on extra-judicial killings, were filed against the President at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Morales said she will still have to review the case filed by self-proclaimed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato before deciding whether to inhibit or not.

"I haven't read, I'm not aware of that complaint. I will see, I will look at the case," she replied when asked whether she will inhibit herself from the new case filed by Matobato.

In her speech, Morales however stressed the importance of following the rule of law to achieve meaningful democracy.

"We need leaders who put premium to rule of law, who will both serve as a moral compass and a beacon of righteous public service," Morales said.

"Change is not coming, because it has always been there, it is the only thing that is constant. Let the rule of law and participatory governance be the cornerstone of Philippine democracy," she added.

"The building block of rule of law is integrity, doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone one is watching," she said.

Morales told reporters that it would be difficult to surmise at this point whether Duterte is constitutionally liable when he made pronouncements that he will not allow the policemen accused of "rubout" in the killing of alleged drug lord Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. to be jailed since no action has been taken to manifest the statement.

"That's a mere statement, whether it's going to be carried out is a different story," she said. "Iba yung salita, iba yung action."

"According to Leila (Senator De Lima), it's a betrayal of public trust. We're not bound by anyone's opinion, we will have our own opinion," Morales added.