Supreme Court junks disbarment rap vs Ombudsman

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2017 02:19 PM

MANILA – The Supreme Court has junked a disbarment case filed against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

The high court, voting unanimously, junked former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica’s disbarment case since the Ombudsman, being an impeachable officer, cannot be charged with disbarment while in office.

"[A] public officer who, under the Constitution is required to be a member of the Bar as a qualification for the office held by him/her and who may be removed from office only by impeachment, cannot be charged with disbarment during the incumbency of the public officer. Under the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman is part of the short list of public officers who may be removed only by impeachment,” the high court said.

Belgica on Friday filed a disbarment case against the Ombudsman for clearing former President Benigno Aquino III from any liability over his administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

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." 

- report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News