“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 new officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) local chapter in Davao City last Saturday. PPD/King Rodriquez, File

Rody dares Sereno, Morales: Let’s resign
(The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2017 - 4:00pm

Morales ignores call; Sereno won’t comment

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte dared Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to resign with him as he vowed not to recognize the investigation to be conducted by the anti-graft body on his alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Duterte accused both Morales and Sereno of corruption.

He also slammed Morales for “selective justice,” claiming that while it is looking into accusations that he has unexplained wealth, it sat on similar complaints involving other officials in the past.

“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 new officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) local chapter in Davao City last Saturday.

“How come the complaints against us were prioritized –the complaints against us that are not true?” he asked.

Duterte said Morales and Sereno have allowed themselves to be used in efforts to destroy him and eventually oust him from office.

He said it would be best for the three of them to just step down together because they seemed to be the ones causing trouble for the country.

“I will not die if I lose the presidency,” Duterte said.

“I challenge the two, we will go to Congress, in a simple ceremony, we sign the letter of resignation. Sige nga (Come on). Then let us open all the books, including yours,” Duterte added.

Duterte said he would allow the security forces to step in if they fail to reach an agreement.

“Who will decide? The Armed Forces and the police will decide it for us so that the nation would not plunge into chaos,” he said.

Duterte has been under fire for his war on drugs and his refusal to sign waivers so the public could scrutinize his bank accounts. The ombudsman is investigating his alleged ill-gotten wealth as claimed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Duterte then turned the tables on the ombudsman and said he would have the anti-graft body investigated instead. Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said there is no law barring the ombudsman from being investigated as well.

“The Armed Forces knows this because I gave money to the policemen who were charged before. I asked money from friends, ‘help them because the ombudsman investigator is asking money from them,’” the President said.

Duterte said he would order the military to make an inventory of the policemen and soldiers who had to pay investigators in exchange for the dismissal of their cases.

“I will ask for the records and I will have (them) analyzed, and I will talk to the policemen, I will talk to the generals, and I will talk to the people who were unjustly convicted. And I will encourage them to file a case. And when the time comes, if we cannot agree with each other, then let us decide to submit it to the Armed Forces because there will be chaos,” the President said.

While he has to deal with a lot of criticisms, the President has escaped an impeachment case at the House of Representatives filed by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, who accused the President of having a hand in the killings related to the drug war as well as sacrificing the country’s territory to China. This gives him immunity from impeachment for a year.

Protests against his drug war and alleged extrajudicial killings have also fallen short of asking him to step down from office.

On the other hand, while the Palace is denying a hand in the impeachment complaints against Sereno and Morales, critics said Duterte and his allies were out to push them out of the way for being uncooperative.

The House has found the impeachment case against Sereno “sufficient in form and substance” based on various grounds while Morales is also facing impeachment complaints.

Duterte also raised in his speech the allegation against Sereno that she did not declare the P37-million professional fee she received as a private lawyer who represented the government in the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. case.

No comment

Morales and Sereno opted not to respond to the latest tirades of the President.

“The Office has already stated its position; to abide by its constitutional duty,” Morales said.

“No need to add more,” Morales, who earlier stated that her office would not be intimidated by Duterte, stressed.

Sereno’s lawyer and spokesman, Carlo Cruz, said Sereno would not issue any statement. Sereno’s camp has earlier denied the allegations against her and said she would resign.

Duterte warns Carandang

Duterte also lambasted overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang, who said a fact-finding investigation would be conducted to look into Trillanes’ claims as the President indeed had millions in his bank accounts.

But the Anti-Money Laundering Council has denied being the source of the documents attached in 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 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.

IBP also slammed

The President likewise 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 with 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 everyday, 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.

“(Can we not) persevere 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. –With Michael Punongbayan, Edu Punay, Delon Porcalla

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