Palace asked to ‘bodily remove’ deputy Ombudsman from office

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2018 02:26 PM | Updated as of Oct 05 2018 09:55 PM

MANILA - Lawyers on Friday urged Malacañang to enforce its decision to suspend Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang by “physically removing” him from office.

Malacañang on January 29 announced the 90-day preventive suspension of Carandang as a probe was underway into the grave misconduct and grave dishonesty charges against him for the supposed illegal disclosure of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family’s bank transactions.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, however, said her office would not implement Malacañang's suspension order, citing the anti-graft body’s independence.

Lawyers Jacinto Paras and Glenn Chong, two of the complainants against Carandang, said despite receipt of the suspension order, the overall deputy ombudsman has refused to serve his suspension.

“As there is no other way to ensure compliance with the order of preventive suspension, and in view of such refusal, respondent Carandang may now be bodily or physically removed from office or physically restrained from the exercise thereof for the duration of his preventive suspension, through the use of necessary and reasonable force,” the lawyers said in their manifestation.

The lawyers said to prevent Carandang from returning to his office, enforcers may be stationed near the entry and exit points of the Ombudsman Building in Quezon City.

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.

The Palace suspended Carandang despite a 2014 Supreme Court ruling declaring as unconstitutional a provision in the Ombudsman Act of 1989 granting the Office of the President the power to remove a deputy ombudsman.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier expressed confidence that the ruling can be reversed, even as he maintained that the Palace will not be the one to bring the issue to court.