MANILA, Philippines — Malacanang on Tuesday challenged Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to file an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte if he believes the suspension of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang is an impeachable offense.
“Go ahead, file impeachment. Do it as soon as possible and we will see you in the House (of Representatives),” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in response to Trillanes’ statement.
On Monday, the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) formally charged and placed Carandang under a 90-day preventive suspension for allegedly committing grave misconduct and dishonesty “for misuse of confidential information and disclosing false information” in relation to the Ombudsman’s probe on the alleged bank records of the President and his family.
Trillanes, a staunch critic of Duterte, said the OES had violated Article 11, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution, “which clearly states the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman and its Deputies.”
Roque insisted that the Office of the President’s jurisdiction over the Deputy Ombudsman is constitutional.
He said the OES will stand by its decision, adding that the Overall Deputy Ombudsman is free to seek legal remedy before any competent court.
“The OES, however, stands by its decision to formally charge and suspend Overall Deputy Ombudsman Carandang, pursuant to the President’s broad powers to discipline all non-impeachable presidential appointees,” Roque said in a press statement.
Carandang had claimed his documents showing the flow of money through debits and credits were provided by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
He also said the bank records were similar to the documents that Trillanes obtained from AMLC.
The AMLC, however, had denied that it released the bank records of President Duterte and his family to Carandang and Trillanes.
“The charges stem from unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, which AMLC clarified, did not come from them; which AMLC also said, were wrong and misleading,” Roque said.
Carandang was given 10 days to answer the charges.