Solicitor General Jose Calida warned on Thursday that the ombudsman and her deputy might face cases stemming from the release of the supposed bank accounts of the president. PCOO/File

Calida: Morales, deputy can face lawsuits, impeachment
Audrey Morallo ( - October 4, 2017 - 9:40am

MANILA, Philippines — The ombudsman can face a slew of lawsuits and even an impeachment complaint stemming from the alleged release of his deputy of "fake" information on the alleged bank transactions of President Rodrigo Duterte, Solicitor General Jose Calida said on Thrusday.

According to Calida, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales cannot "feign" innocence in the actions of her deputy, Melchor Carandang, after she inhibited herself from the case of the president based on the complaint filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

"When her overall deputy is violating the ombudsman act, and she does nto say anything about it, that is condoning the criminal act of his deputy. As head of the agency, she can't wash her hands off like Pontius Pilate," Calida said in a press conference.

"She might even be subject for impeachment," Calida said.

When asked if this statement was a threat to Morales, Calida answered: "It's not a threat; it's a fact."

She added that Carandang would also be held liable for the release of questionable information on a supposed money laundering transaction.

"I have news for Deputy Ombudsman Carandang: You will be held liable under the law," Calida said.

He said that the deputy ombudsman could be charged for a maliciously reporting information supposedly from the Anti-Money Laundering Council, violation of the Ombudsman Act and grave misconduct of a public official.

Carandang "willingly allowed himself to be a tool for political harassment. This is a clear case of grave misconduct," according to the solicitor general.

Calida said that he would support any private individual or public official who would initiate cases against the erring officials of the ombudsman.

Trillanes meanwhile can be charged for perjury for the release of spurious information on the bank transactions of the president, according to the solicitor general who labeled the lawmaker a "public nuisance."

According to Calida, the amounts in the supposed accounts that the president co-owned with his children were misleading since the deposits and the withdrawals were added, resulting in a bloated figure.

Calida said that they would ask the ombudsman to inhibit if a case against Carandang would be filed since it would be the anti-graft agency that would handle the complaint.

The top government lawyer also revealed in the media briefing that the AMLC sent him a letter belying that it was its report that was the source of the information that Carandang divulged in the public.

Carandang was quoted by the media as saying that there were millions in the supposed bank accounts of the president.

However, he has since clarified this and said that he was merely commenting on the documents shown to him by journalists who interviewed him.

The deputy ombudsman also defended himself against accusations that he violated the law by releasing information on the bank transactions of Duterte, saying that he had conducted the probe with "confidentiality."

According to Calida, the statements of the deputy ombudsman created the impression that he had "authentic" AMLC documents showing billions of pesos in the Duterte accounts.

However, the Banko Sentral watchdog denied this, and it was only at this point that Carandang "backtracked and admitted his massive lie."

Trillanes is accusing the president of having billions in bank transactions from 2006 to 2015. He has also challenged the president to sign bank waivers that would open these accounts to an investigation.

Duterte has refused to sign these waivers. He also turned the tables on Trillanes and accused him of owning offshore accounts.

The president however admitted "inventing" the account number of Trillanes in DBS supposedly to trick the senator.

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