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Ombudsman urged: Quit ahead of impeachment

MANILA, Philippines — The lawyer of seven potential impeachment complainants against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is urging her to resign even before the complaint could be filed with the House of Representatives.

“She should consider resigning before the Nov. 20 filing of the impeachment case to avert humiliation,” Manuelito Luna told reporters yesterday.

He claimed that her clients have a “very strong case” against the Ombudsman.

“Most of our evidence are documentary, and came from the Office of the Ombudsman itself, the Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals, Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), and the Supreme Court. Corrupt practices will be one of the most potent grounds in our complaint,” he said.

Luna is the counsel of a group of supporters of President Duterte that has been filing cases against administration critics.

The group plans to file inciting to sedition and other charges against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

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Like Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who is facing an impeachment case before the House, Morales has vowed not to quit. The two have committed to fight off impeachment with a clear conscience.

The President has repeatedly said he would like Sereno and Morales impeached.

Last week, Luna emailed to reporters a copy of the 110-page impeachment complaint he drafted for the seven possible complainants against the Ombudsman.

The seven are former Negros Oriental congressman Jacinto Paras, former Metro Rail Transit-3 general manager Al Vitangcol, Juan Rana, Roel Degamo, Eligio Mallari, Teresita Baltazar and Evelyn Kolayko.

Vitangcol is facing a graft complaint before the Ombudsman in connection with Metro Rail Transit-3 irregularities when he was general manager of the breakdown-prone Edsa rail system.

In their draft complaint, Paras and his colleagues enumerated nine impeachment charges against Morales.

Among the charges against the Ombudsman are her supposed failure to act timely on complaints, her practice of selective justice (the same accusation leveled repeatedly against her by the President), violation of the Constitution for ordering the dismissal of Sen. Joel Villanueva and Iligan Rep. Frederick Siao for allegedly misusing their pork barrel funds, and filing of old cases that end up being dismissed by the Sandiganbayan. 

They also accuse Morales of sitting on the case of former president Benigno Aquino III in connection with the botched police raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that resulted in the death of 44 policemen.

On Thursday, the Ombudsman filed with the Sandigan charges for graft and usurpation of authority against Aquino.

The complainants also allege that Morales conspired with her overall deputy, Melchor Arthur Carandang, “to disclose information of a confidential character, and to spread vicious lies against President Duterte in order to undermine his presidency and the AMLC.”

They were referring to Carandang’s recent statements that his office has started an investigation into the allegation of Trillanes that Duterte has amassed more than P2 billion in ill-gotten wealth. The President has denied the accusation.

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