MANILA - Malacañang has filed administrative charges against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, the lead investigator in the probe into the wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Office of Executive Secretary filed charges against Carandang for grave misconduct for the supposed illegal disclosure of the President and his family’s bank transactions.
Carandang has also been placed under 90 days preventive suspension.
Roque said the case stems from the complaint filed by Manuelito Luna and Eligio Mallari against Carandang in October last year.
Carandang earlier said the Office of the Ombudsman had started looking into the wealth of the President and his family, and that it was coordinating with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
The AMLC, however, said it had 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.
“Carandang not only violated the Bank Secrecy Law and all the laws proscribing disclosure of confidential information and secrets as well as details relative to the fact-finding, but also grossly misrepresented the facts, if not indulged in misinformation calculated to undermine the integrity of the Anti-Money Laundering Council and bring about the weakening of the institution of the Presidency,” Luna and Mallari said in their complaint.
"His disclosures of the inflows and outflows of funds, amounts of the account deposits, nature of the bank deposits, depositors’ names, and other details are not benign, but are calculated to destabilize the economy, if not the entire Government.”
Roque stressed that the charges filed against Carandang does not violate the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman, noting that only the Ombudsman is impeachable while the rest of the officials of the anti-graft body can be subjected to disciplinary action of the President.
Duterte had earlier blasted Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales over the probe.
Morales had inhibited from the case since her nephew, Manases Carpio, is the husband of the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. Still, she asserted that her office would pursue the probe.
Duterte also insisted he is not hiding his wealth from the public, adding he can be shot if his wealth turns out to be beyond P40 million.
Duterte has said he would not submit to the Ombudsman's investigation. He has also said he would create a commission to investigate alleged corruption in Morales' office.