In a chance interview with reporters Tuesday night, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales confirmed that there is an ongoing preliminary investigation on Duterte over several complaints.
KJ Rosales
Paolo Duterte still under Ombudsman probe
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - May 10, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential son and former Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte is still the subject of an ongoing investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman, despite being recently cleared of involvement in the P6.4-billion shabu smuggling case.

In a chance interview with reporters Tuesday night, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales confirmed that there is an ongoing preliminary investigation on Duterte over several complaints.

Morales said the investigation is being handled by a deputy ombudsman, but refused to reveal the name.

“I think it’s pending. It’s validated by the investigator, deputy ombudsman,” Morales said during the question-and-answer portion of an anti-corruption forum held in Quezon City on Tuesday night. 

Morales was responding to the question of an audience member on whether there is still a pending investigation against any member of the Duterte family.

The Office of the Ombudsman is composed of the ombudsman, the overall deputy ombudsman and four deputy ombudsmen – one each for Luzon, the Visayas, Mindanao and the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO).

Interviewed by reporters after the event, Morales categorically stated that the pending investigation is against Paolo Duterte.

She, however, refused to elaborate on what issue or controversy the younger Duterte is being investigated for, stressing that she had long inhibited from any investigation involving the first family, as she is related to them by marriage.

Morales’ nephew Manases Carpio is the husband of presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Earlier this year, the ombudsman had terminated its fact-finding investigation on the alleged hidden wealth of President Duterte for lack of evidence.

The ombudsman cited the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC)’s “refusal” to provide the requested documents vital to the probe.

Malacañang respects the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman that is continuing its probe on the ill-gotten wealth case and other graft charges against Paolo Duterte.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque noted that the ombudsman is bound by its constitutional duty to look into accountability of public officials, whether or not they are close to the President.

“The Office of the Ombudsman has the power to investigate on its own and initiate proper action against public officers,” Roque said.

“We see this as part of the ombudsman’s constitutional mandate to ensure public accountability,” he added.

Pending cases

Based on the list obtained by reporters from the Office of the Ombudsman’s Central Records Division, there are five pending complaints against Paolo Duterte undergoing preliminary investigation as of Jan. 12, 2018.

Two of the complaints are criminal in nature, two are administrative and one is civil forfeiture. 

The STAR inquired on whether all the five complaints are still under preliminary investigation but Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Bureau (PACPB) acting director Alan Cañares could not give an immediate confirmation. Instead, he referred the query to Office of Legal Affairs spokesperson Asryman Rafanan who has also yet to respond as of press time.

Just last week, the ombudsman issued a statement saying that its fact-finding panel found no basis to subject Paolo and presidential son-in-law Manases Carpio under preliminary investigation in connection with the alleged P6.4-billion shabu shipment in May 2017 in the Manila port supposedly involving several Bureau of Customs officials.

Meanwhile, in a text message to The STAR, lawyer Jude Josue Sabio welcomed Morales’ announcement, adding that Paolo is one of the respondents in the criminal complaint file by his client, self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato in December 2016.

“I welcome the announcement of Ombudsman Morales. Paolo Duterte has a lot to answer for, a lifestyle check on him should even be in order. Paolo Duterte must be subjected to lifestyle check for potential ill-gotten wealth,” Sabio said.

Also included as respondents in Matobato’s complaint were Paolo, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Ronald dela Rosa and 25 former and incumbent police officers and city government officials.

“Paolo Duterte is one of the persons charged by Edgar Matobato in a complaint personally filed by me on Dec. 9, 2016 in the ombudsman... I recall that President Duterte was excluded because of presidential immunity, but Paolo has no immunity; the ombudsman can subject him to preliminary investigation, including a lifestyle check,” Sabio said.

The ombudsman, however, has yet to confirm if the younger Duterte is still among the respondents in the Matobato complaint when the fact-finding panel recommended a formal preliminary investigation on the issue sometime in August last year.

Based on previous reports, three criminal cases were transmitted by the ombudsman special panel for preliminary investigation – one involves murder and kidnapping of former soldier Jun Bersabal in 1993; murder of radio broadcaster Jun Pala in 2003; and torture of Matobato by a group of policemen led by Senior Police Officer 1 Reynante Medina.    – With Christina Mendez

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