Duterte shuns ombudsman's probe, cries 'selective justice'

Duterte shuns ombudsman's probe, cries 'selective justice'

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his speech during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly installed officers and members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao City Chapter at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City on Sept. 30, 2017, reiterates that he will enforce the law equally to any citizen in line with his intensified campaign against illegal drugs. Joey Dalumpines/Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte would not recognize the investigation to be conducted by the ombudsman on his alleged ill-gotten wealth as he accused the anti-graft body of corruption and “selective justice.”
Duterte claimed that the ombudsman is looking into accusations that he has unexplained wealth but sat on earlier complaints involving other officials.
“I will not submit jurisdiction to the ombudsman because it’s a lousy thing,” the president said in an expletive-laden speech during the oath taking of the new members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in Davao City last Saturday.
“(Ombudsman Conchita Carpio) Morales, you prioritize the case that has been filed for a long time. You are in on a selective justice, son of a b****. How come the complaints against us were prioritized? The complaints against us that are not true? I said it to your sorrow,” he added.
Duterte made the remarks days after his spokesman Ernesto Abella issued a statement saying that the president “respects the internal processes of the ombudsman as an independent body” and “trusts its impartiality in the conduct of its fact-finding duty.”
Earlier, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV accused Duterte and his family of having unexplained wealth, an allegation he also made a few days before the 2016 elections.
The senator said the ombudsman has Anti-Money Laundering Council records containing the alleged flagged transactions in the president’s bank accounts. He also claimed that Duterte’s bank accounts have more than P2 billion in deposits and credits. Duterte has denied the accusations and expressed readiness to step down if proven that he or any member of his family committed corruption.
Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang said a fact-finding investigation would be conducted to look into Trillanes’ claims.
The AMLC has denied being the source of the documents attached to Trillanes’ complaint. It also described the total amount in the alleged bank accounts as “wrong and misleading” because the debits and credits representing the outflows and inflows of funds were added together.

Duterte warns Carandang

Duterte warned Carandang that he would blame him if the situation in the country deteriorates.
“Imagine this, Carandang, magdasal ka lang (just pray), Carandang. I’m not threatening you. Pagka nagkal**** - l**** ang Pilipinas, uunahin kita (If the Philippines goes to the dogs, I will deal with you first),” the president said without elaborating.
Last week, Duterte said he would form a body to probe ombudsman personnel who allegedly asked money from officials in exchange for the dismissal of cases. He said he would have the ombudsman personnel who refused to cooperate with the investigation cited for contempt and arrested.  
The Office of the Ombudsman said it would not be intimidated by Duterte’s threat and vowed to proceed with the investigation on the corruption allegations against him.
Duterte tried to turn the tables on the ombudsman, accusing the anti-graft body of collecting money from security personnel facing complaints.
“You from the Armed Forces, how many of you paid (for the dismissal of your) cases? Your finance officer was charged and when he returned to the ombudsman, it was dismissed in Quezon City. Are you happy with that?” the president said.  
“Lahat ng pulis halos, bayad ‘yan (Almost all policemen paid)… Liable or not liable. I’ve been a prosecutor,” he added.
Duterte said anyone can contact the central bank to check his money in the bank, which he claimed would not exceed P40 million.
“All in all, it would not go beyond P40 million, my lifetime savings. A part of that was my (inheritance),” the president said.
“You have friends in the central bank…You can see it. I tell you, I will slap it on your faces,” he added.
Duterte said the ombudsman had investigated him before but the complaints were dismissed.

Duterte slams IBP

The president also assailed the IBP for releasing a statement asking him not to be onion-skinned when accused of wrongdoing.
In the statement, the IBP, the official organization of all Philippine lawyers, reminded Duterte that public office is a “public trust” and a government official holds his life open to public scrutiny.  
The IBP also described as “constitutionally suspect” the creation of a body that effectively defeats the independence and flexibility needed by the ombudsman in the discharge of her duties.
The group’s remarks did not sit well on Duterte, who insisted that he could not remain silent in the face of what he called “fabricated” evidence.
“Onion-skinned, you repeat a lie every day… If I tell that every day, can you bear it?” the president said.
“What about my children? Onion-skinned? Will I tell them ‘you adopt the hide of a bull, or a carabao, or a rhinoceros. Son of a b****. Onion-skinned? Everyone is onion-skinned including my grandchildren. You will call me onion-skinned for a fabricated hundreds of billions,” he added.
Duterte claimed that the allegations against him constitute an attack against his honor.
“Have you forgotten that there is honor? What if I tell you that her children are not yours because she committed infidelity? What will you do? That is an attack against honor,” he said.
Duterte insisted that the income of his family came from legitimate sources. He said his partner Honeylet supplies meat in market stalls while his family owns a lumber yard.
“We cannot struggle in this life to make a living?” the president said.
At the end of his speech, Duterte apologized to IBP members for his outbursts and assured them that he would not condone any form of corruption. — Alexis Romero

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