Disbarment case filed against Ombudsman

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2017 01:36 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2017 03:52 PM

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. File Photo

(UPDATE) A disbarment case against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales was filed at the Supreme Court (SC), for clearing former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III from any liability over his administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

In his complaint, former Manila City councilor Greco Belgica accused Morales of violating the Lawyer's Oath and the Canon of Professional Responsibility when she approved earlier this month a resolution absolving Aquino of the charges for technical malversation, usurpation of legislative powers, and graft.

"In absolving the president (Aquino) of criminal liability by omitting his name in the discussion relative to the finding of probable cause against former (Budget) Secretary Florencio Abad, the Filipino people were deprived of their right to procedural due process."

"Hence, the Ombudsman violated her lawyer's oath when she deprived of their right to due procedural due process, a right enshrined in our Constitution and mandated by law," the complaint read.

Morales could only wish her critics "luck."

"I have yet to know the grounds of the complaint. Anyway, everyone is at liberty to file a complaint. Being charged is part of the territory. I am ready to meet head-on any complaint, anytime, anywhere. Wish them luck," Morales said. 

Morales added she "will not be sidetracked" and will remain "focused on work." 

ALLEGED VIOLATIONS 

Morales was also accused of violating Rule 6.01 of the Canon of Professional Responsibility when she " failed to perform her duty to see that justice is done."

The complaint also claimed Morales violated Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 of the same code for her alleged failure to "uphold the integrity and dignity" of the legal profession in clearing Aquino of the charge of usurpation of legislative powers.

"Taking into consideration the fact that the former president appointed her, her conduct of favoring the former president adversely reflected her fitness to practice law," the complaint read.

While clearing Aquino, Morales indicted Abad for usurpation of legislative powers for unlawfully issuing the National Budget Circular No. 541 that was used to carry out the DAP.

Ombudsman argued that the technical malversation and graft complaints were dismissed because "they cannot be indicted for technical malversation since they did not "apply" public funds to other purposes." 

The DAP was challenged before the high court by several petitioners, one of whom was Belgica, with the magistrates striking down as unconstitional in 2014 several of its provisions such as the pooling of public funds even before the end of the fiscal year, using savings to aid offices outside the executive branch and Office of the President, and funding projects not found in the General Appropriations Act.