Palace mum on ombudsman probe of Duterte’s graft case

Giovanni Nilles - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday refused to comment on the disclosure of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales that her office would continue the investigation of President Duterte in connection with the plunder and graft cases filed against him by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV despite his immunity from suit. 

“No comment for now,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a text message.

Trillanes had accused Duterte of hiring ghost employees at the Davao City Hall when he was mayor.

Morales said an investigation could still be pursued even with Duterte’s immunity from suit because Trillanes’ complaints were filed before he was elected president.

“Under the law, even if a person has immunity or even if he is impeachable, you still continue the investigation for purposes of determining whether there is misconduct, which can be a basis for impeachment, if it amounts to the grounds of impeachment under the Constitution,” Morales said in a television interview.

The ombudsman said she has inhibited from the case because of her ties with the Dutertes.

Morales is the aunt of lawyer Manases Carpio, the husband of the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

In his complaint, Trillanes claimed that Duterte amassed P2.4 billion and that the source of the money could be the ghost employees hired by the Davao City government.

Trillanes cited a Commission on Audit report that said the city paid P708 million for the salaries of 11,000 contractual workers in 2014. State auditors said there were no documents to show that the workers actually rendered work.

When asked if the anti-graft office would also investigate Duterte on extrajudicial killings stemming from the government’s war on drugs, Morales replied, “Everything is possible.”

“We don’t discount any possibility that we’ll spare him or indict him. We are talking about possibilities. There are many possibilities,” Morales said.


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