MANILA - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday said her office is still investigating former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte even after his P6.4-billion shabu smuggling case has been dismissed.
Morales was asked in a public forum about the Ombudsman's investigation on the first family, to which she replied: "I think it’s pending."
She added that she has inhibited from all the cases involving the Duterte family as her nephew, Atty. Mans Carpio, is married to presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Asked in an ambush interview if Paolo Duterte was the subject of the pending probe, Morales said yes.
A fact-finding panel of the Ombudsman, citing lack of evidence, recently cleared Paolo and Atty. Mans Carpio, husband of Sara Duterte, of involvement in the shipment of over 600 kilos of shabu that slipped Customs inspection in May 2017.
Morales refused to confirm if the ongoing probe against Paolo was connected to allegations of ill-gotten wealth raised by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Malacañang meanwhile welcomed the anti-graft body's investigation into the President's eldest son.
"The Office of the Ombudsman has the power to investigate on its own and initiate proper action against public officers. We see this as part of the Ombudsman’s constitutional mandate to ensure public accountability," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
The Office of the Ombudsman last January released a list of cases involving Paolo, which are undergoing preliminary investigation.
According to the Central Records Division, Duterte is being investigated in connection with the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; An Act Declaring Forfeiture in Favor of the State Any Property Found to Have Been Unlawfully Acquired by Any; Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, Grave Misconduct and Serious Dishonesty; and Perjury.
Both Duterte and Carpio have denied involvement in alleged corruption at the customs bureau.
Duterte resigned as Davao City vice mayor last Christmas Day.