MANILA – Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang said Monday he was just reading through supposed “AMLC documents” shown to him by the media in an ambush interview when he was quoted saying that the “AMLC” papers seemed to jibe with the allegations of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in his 2016 complaint against then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Carandang’s explanation, given three days after his boss declared that the Office of the Ombudsman stands by the documents it had obtained, rendered more murky the real status of the Duterte case, even as it had already sparked angry exchanges among parties concerned, with Duterte daring Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to resign together with him.
The two-paragraph statement on Monday was issued in Carandang’s behalf by the Office of the Ombudsman, leading off with an assurance by ODO Carandang that he has always maintained confidentiality in his investigation of the Duterte case. Confidentiality during investigation proper is mandated by the law creating the Office of the Ombudsman.
Part of the statement issued by the anti-graft, independent agency on Monday said: “Carandang states that he was reading through the documents shown to him during the ambush interview, in response to media’s inquiry on the status of the complaint after more than a year since its filing, and in stating that a request was made to AMLC as part of the required investigation process.”
Amid threats made by President Duterte against the Office of the Ombudsman following reports quoting Carandang, the Office’s statement insisted that “it has observed confidentiality in the Ombudsman’s investigation on the complaint against then mayor Rodrigo Duterte, which complaint was filed, in fact, even before the 2016 elections.”
The complaint filed by Trillanes, then a vice presidential candidate, had alleged that Duterte had amassed some P200 million in various bank accounts.
Duterte and Trillanes have recently exchanged accusations of hiding bank accounts hiding millions, especially after Carandang was quoted in some media outlets as saying that AMLC documents appeared to jibe with the main accusations against Duterte in the 2016 Trillanes complaint.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council was prompted to issue late Wednesday (Sept. 27) a statement denying it had already furnished documents to the ODO, saying it was still gathering the information sought as the request was made only on Sept. 6, 2017.
However, on Friday, in response to President Duterte’s threat to create a commission to investigate alleged corruption at the Office of the Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio-Morales issued a statement that bore a cryptic one-liner:
“As to the documents in its possession, the office stands by its word.”
She was apparently reacting to AMLC’s statement that it had not yet released Duterte’s and his family’s financial records to the Ombudsman’s office.
Some news reports quoted Carandang as saying the agency had secured from the AMLC copies of Duterte and his family’s bank transaction records. He also said that based on documents from the AMLC, the President and his relatives’ bank transactions through the years amounted to over P1 billion.
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