(UPDATED – 10:12 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) railed against President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat that he would investigate the agency headed by Conchita Carpio-Morales — a statement made by the chief executive following the Office of the Ombudsman’s announcement that it was investigating hidden wealth allegations against the country’s top official and his family.
In a statement issued on Friday, the organization headed by Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, said “public officials must not be onion-skinned” and should must bear in mind that “public office is a public trust.”
“Upon assumption of public office, a government official holds his life open to public scrutiny,” the IBP said.
Duterte’s plan to create another body either by executive issuance or an act of Congress to investigate the Ombudsman’s office “would effectively defeat the independence and flexibility needed” by Morales “in the discharge of her duties” and “at best, Constitutionally suspect,” according to the IBP.
“It is judicially established that the Office of the Ombudsman does not owe its existence to any act of Congress. It was created by the Constitution itself. It enjoys fiscal autonomy,” it said
“As an independent body it must be insulated from political pressure — most especially from the highest political office in the land. To allow such pressure would result in the prostitution or impairment of its core functions,” IBP added.
Ex-lawmaker hopes Duterte’s pronouncement will trigger endorsement of impeach raps vs Morales
Meanwhile, former Negros Oriental representative Jacinto “Jing” Paras on Friday said he was hoping that Duterte’s pronouncement against the Ombudsman’s office would trigger lawmakers to endorse the impeachment complaint against Morales.
“If there are endorsers now, I’m sure the VACC or some VACC lawyers will file the impeachment against Carpio Morales. I endorsed it to Atty. Prinsipe and Atty. Luna, VACC lawyers,” Paras told ABS-CBN News.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption filed the complaint against the Ombudsman last August but it failed to take off due to lack of endorsers from the House of Representatives.
On Friday, Paras claimed Morales “is behind the many anomalies in the (Office of the) Ombudsman, including selective justice, inordinate delay in resolving cases and toleration of many anomalies within.”