Citing the 2014 SC ruling that held that the president has no disciplinary jurisdiction over Office of the Ombudsman and its officials, the former government chief legal counsel said that the OES ruling is a "patently unconstitutional order." PCA Released

Ex-Solgen Hilbay: Carandang suspension an 'attack' vs Supreme Court
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - February 1, 2018 - 5:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Executive Secretary suspension order against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang is an "attack" to the authority of the Supreme Court, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said.

In a statement, Hilbay lambasted the OES ruling as a "patently unconstitutional order" that is an "attack on the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman and the authority of the Supreme Court."

Citing the 2014 SC ruling that held that the president has no disciplinary jurisdiction over Office of the Ombudsman and its officials, the former government chief legal counsel said that the OES ruling is a "patently unconstitutional order."

"The decision to suspend Carandang is therefore a 'collateral attack' on a final and executory judgment of the Supreme Court. This cannot be done," Hilbay added.

According to the SC Public Information Records, the ruling on the Gonzales III vs Office of the President case was made part of the book of entries of judgments on May 7, 2014.

Following this, the ruling is deemed final, executory and irreversible.

READ: SC ruling that may help Carandang deemed irreversible

Burden lies with the executive

Hilbay also stressed that the burden to bring the matter to the court lies not with Carandang or the Office of the Ombudsman, but with the Office of the President.

Stressing that court jurisprudence on the Gonzales case, he said that the executive department should "first seek a reversal of the prior judgment of the SC before acting inconsistently with that jurisprudence."

"No public official, not even the President, can adopt a 'violate-the-law, seek-reversal-later' attitude when it comes with the [SC]," he said, chiding the two top government officials who earlier said that they are "confident" that the SC will reverse its 2014 ruling.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Solicitor General Jose Calida both asserted that the president holds disciplinary authority over the Office of the Ombudsman executive.

Roque said that Carandang can seek any court for redress, while Calida said that he is ready to defend the ruling before the court.

RELATED: Fact-check: Sal Panelo on Ombudsman's power to probe Duterte

Carpio-Morales did the right thing

Hilbay also threw his support on Ombudsman Carpio-Morales' "defiance" of the executive order, noting that the she has "the two-fold obligation of following the Constitution and protecting the independence of her office."

"The law is clear, she simply followed it," Hilbay added.

Citing the Gonzales III vs Office of the President case, Caprio-Morales said that she will "not allow herself to betray her sworn duty to uphold the Constitution by recognizing what is patently unconstitutional."

Hilbay also raised that the decision may be influenced by a conflict of interest.

"The disrespect to the SC and the Office of the Ombudsman is even more palpable because what triggered the action of the President is an investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman regarding his ill-gotten wealth," he added.

"The President is acting not to protect a beleaguered citizen from abuse of power by the Ombudsman; he is acting to protect himself," Hilbay also said.

The Malacañang issued the 90-day suspension on Carandang for grave misconduct following his disclosure of the alleged bank account records of Duterte and his family.

READ: Can the Office of the President suspend Deputy Ombudsman Carandang?

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