(UPDATE 3 – 1:12 a.m.) MANILA, Philippines — Days after the Office of the Ombudsman announced that it was investigating the alleged hidden wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family, the chief executive retaliated and said he would also investigate the “biased and corrupt” institution.
“You’ll be investigated also. One of these days, kayo ang sigurado kong hahabulin dahil nga ‘yong partiality ninyo [I’m sure you’ll be the one pursued because of your impartiality],” Duterte said in a taped interview with PTV, which was aired on Thursday.
“Pag hindi ninyo imbestigahan sarili ninyo, ako ang magset-up ng [If you don’t investigate yourselves, I would be the one setting up a] commission to investigate you as a President with investigating powers,” he said.
“Magkagulo tayo n’yan kasi sino ang mag-imbestiga sa kalokohan ninyo? What is the remedy of the Filipinos kung kayo maghingi-hingi? Huwag mo akong lokohin [We will have trouble because who will investigate your wrongdoings? What is the remedy of the Filipinos if you engage in bribery? Don’t fool me]. Do not force my hand into it. I will set up a commission to investigate the Ombudsman, the institution itself and all,” the President added.
Recently, the Office of the Ombudsman announced that it had recommended the conduct of a fact-finding investigation on the the wealth of Duterte and his family based on the plunder complaint filed in May 2016 by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
According to overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, the Ombudsman’s office now has a copy of bank records from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) that “more or less” look like Duterte’s supposed bank transactions attached by Trillanes to the complaint he filed days before last year’s national polls.
But the AMLC on Thursday denied that it had furnished copies of the first family’s bank records to the Ombudsman’s office and just acknowledged that the council received a Sept. 6 letter from Carandang requesting the agency to look into the the President and his relatives’ financial transactions.
‘Are you beholden to the Liberals?’
Duterte, in his taped interview with PTV, complained about the Ombudsman’s alleged partiality in investigating cases, claiming the institution had been allowing members and allies of the Liberal Party to get off the hook.
“Pero ‘yong kay Trillanes, huwag mo rin ‘yong kalimutan. Kasi pag hindi, eh ibang istorya na ‘yan, namumulitika. Wala namang Liberal nakita ko, puro naman sila may DAP cases…Are you beholden to the Liberals?
[It should not also forget the complaints filed against Trillanes. Otherwise, that would be a different story, you’re already politicking. I didn’t see any Liberal members being investigated even though Disbursement Acceleration Program cases had been filed against them…Are you beholden to the Liberals?]
The Ombudsman’s office is headed by Conchita Carpio-Morales, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Duterte and Carpio are related by affinity.
The Ombudsman’s nephew, Manases Carpio — son of Carpio-Morales’ brother, Lucas Carpio and Court of Appeals Justice Agnes Reyes Carpio — is the husband of Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Zimmerman Duterte.
According to the President, the Office of the Ombudsman under Carpio has remained a corrupt institution.
“Sabihin ang ombudsman walang corruption? Tanungin mo ‘yang mga military. Kayong Pilipino, tanungin n’yo mga military sa mga kaso nila, magkano binayad nila? Pulis, lahat, mayor. Governors, tanungin ninyo, bayad ‘yan. Bayad yan, anak ka ng…Pagkabayad dismiss ang kaso,” said Duterte.
[You say that there’s no corruption at the Office of the Ombudsman? You ask the military. Yiu Filipinos, you ask the military about their cases, how much they paid. You asked them all — policemen, mayors. The governors, you asked them, they pay for their cases. Son of a…After paying, their cases get dismissed.]
“Ako noon mayor ako, hiningan ako, hindi ako…Sabi ko i-file mo. Dumating sa Supreme Court filed by the Ombudsman. Pinagastos ninyo ako only to result in the dismissal of the case,” he added.
[When I was a mayor, they asked bribe from me but I said no, just file the case against me. The case filed by the ombudsman reached the Supreme Court. They made me spend for it only to result in the dismissal of the case.]
Earlier, Duterte also claimed that Carpio’s office appeared to have mastered the “art of selective justice” in handling cases, particularly the complaints lodged against government officials accused in the pork barrel scam.
The President said Carpio wasn’t entitled to a full seven-year-term as ombudsman, because she “is supposed to serve the remaining terms of the guy who resigned,” referring to Merceditas Gutierrez, who quit her post in April 2011.
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