SolGen says Deputy Ombudsman could face charges

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2017 04:19 PM

Solicitor General Jose Calida. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Solicitor General Jose Calida on Wednesday warned Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang of possible charges after the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) denied releasing documents on President Rodrigo Duterte and his family's wealth.

In a press conference, Calida showed reporters a letter he received from the AMLC Wednesday which says that the office was not the source of documents of Carandang and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating the President and his family's bank accounts in connection with Trillanes' allegations that Duterte kept hidden wealth.

Carandang last week said the Ombudsman had obtained from the AMLC bank transaction documents of the President and his family in line with its ongoing investigation. AMLC however belied Carandang's claims.

He said the Duterte family’s transactions amount to hundreds of millions of pesos from different banks between 2006 until 2016. He, however, clarified that it would be difficult to identify the total amount of deposits since money went in and out of the Duterte family’s accounts.

Carandang is leading the investigation into the Duterte family's wealth as Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has inhibited from the case due to familial ties with the President's family.

“I have news for Carandang, you will be held liable under the law,” Calida said. 

The Solicitor General said Carandang had committed malicious reporting, and violated the Anti-Money Laundering Act as well as the Ombudsman Act.

Trillanes on the other hand may be charged with perjury, Calida said.

Calida also noted that even if Morales inhibited from the ongoing investigation on the President and his family's wealth, she cannot “skirt away from accountability.”

“We gathered info[rmation] that Carandang was being helped by 2 lawyers-- 1 of them is a former official of the Office of the Ombudsman and the other was a former official during the time of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but who campaigned for a presidential candidate who lost in the last election,” Calida said.

Calida however clarified his office will not be filing the cases as private individuals are already planning to do so.

“I am the lawyer of the Republic and our mandate is to protect the Republic and the leader of the Republic. We will be the counsel of the government in this case so anyone who will file a case against them, we will support,” he said.

'BLACK OPS'

Calida also warned “yellows, whites, reds” and even the clergy who are conspiring against the President, saying a "black operation" against Duterte is underway. 

“I warn them, they will not succeed, because they are doing subversive activities. We can send them to jail,” he said.

“There is a black operations or black ops right now against President Duterte and they can come in various forms and colors, yellow to white and now there are also reds coming in, and also members of the clergy are also joining the fray." 

On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said his department is looking into local and foreign bank accounts of "yellow" personalities including those identified with the opposition but did not disclose names.