Ombudsman not exempt, should be open to corruption probe: Palace


Posted at Sep 30 2017 02:20 PM

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. Noel Celis,AFP

MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman is not exempt from investigation over corruption allegations and should be open to such an inquiry, a Palace official said Saturday.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Ombudsman should allow its office and employees to be checked for alleged corruption to show that there are no "sacred cows" in government.

"The sad reality, however, is that the OMB (Ombudsman) is not exempt from allegations of corruption, which the President said, need to be investigated," Abella said in a statement.

"The OMB (Ombudsman) should be open to any probe that would check into alleged corrupt practices amongst its officials and employees to underscore that there are no sacred cows in the government," he added.

Abella's statement came after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said her office would proceed with the investigation of the wealth allegedly kept by President Rodrigo Duterte and his family despite the chief executive's plan to have a commission investigate alleged anomalies in her office.

In a statement Friday, Morales had noted that Duterte's plan of setting up a commission to look into her office seemed to be "retaliation" for her office's ongoing probe into the President's wealth.

She, however, said her office is open to efforts to "cleanse our ranks" and that the agency has removed employees who have committed various offenses. 

In a recorded interview aired on state-run television Friday, Duterte threatened to have allegedly corrupt officials from Carpio's office arrested by the military if they would snub summons to be issued by the planned investigative commission.

"We recognize that the Office of the Ombudsman has the constitutional duty to probe erring government officials. As the protector of the people, the OMB (Ombudsman) is expected to act promptly on complaints filed against officers or employees of the government," Abella said.

Morales had inhibited from the investigation of the Duterte family's alleged wealth since her nephew, Manases Carpio, is the husband of the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

The investigation is being led by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang, who said the Duterte family’s transactions amount to hundreds of millions of pesos from different banks between 2006 until 2016, citing documents from the Anti-Money Laundering Council. 

The AMLC, however, denied releasing information to the Ombudsman.