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Leave Morales alone, Rody urged

MANILA, Philippines — Seven leftist lawmakers urged President Duterte yesterday to stop “vilifying and intimidating” the Office of the Ombudsman and allow it to inquire into his and his family’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.

“We say that President Duterte should leave Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales alone and let her do her job. He must back off,” they said in a joint statement.

“What Ombudsman Carpio-Morales is doing is within the ambit of her functions… Her initiative to investigate the President, an impeachable public official, is within the mandate granted her office by the 1987 Constitution,” they said.

They said Duterte’s apparent refusal to be investigated “is contrary to the posture taken when he was still a presidential candidate seeking the votes of the people.”

The seven, led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, noted that then Davao City mayor Duterte and his runningmate, former senator and now Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, signed a bank secrecy waiver in March 2016.

“He even challenged his rivals to the presidency to similarly sign waivers, in the interest of transparency and accountability and to deter corruption in any form in the government,” they said.            

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“It seems though that this move was just a big political gimmick because the waiver that President Duterte and Secretary Cayetano signed during the campaign was invalid, unusable and did not specify the banks or any account numbers,” they said.

They said the President’s refusal to sign a valid waiver up to now “is a strong indication that he is hiding something and fears that it would be exposed.”

“That is why he is going all out in his demolition and harassment campaign against the ombudsman who is investigating him,” the lawmakers said.

“The allegations against Duterte and his family are grave and serious, and it is but right for the Office of the Ombudsman to act accordingly on such a serious matter,” they added.

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