DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The move of President Rodrigo Duterte to silence the Office of the Ombudsman and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines did not sit well with the National Union of People’s Lawyers, describing such as a sign of the President’s “tyrannical tendencies.”
In a statement, NUPL, which represents volunteer lawyers, activists, and peace consultants, said the Office of the Ombudsman is now under attack after it initiated a probe to Duterte’s alleged unexplained wealth.
“This apparent retaliation from Malacanang goes to show that the President is keen to silence his critics, keeping them on bended knees. If indeed he has nothing to hide as his office claims, he should subject himself to scrutiny. After all, public office is a public trust,” Atty. Ephraim Cortez, NUPL secretary-general said in a statement on Wednesday, October 4.
But the President after meeting with the parents of Horacio Castillo III has expressed his intent to file an impeachment case against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, noting that the latter was part of the so-called “conspiracy” to oust him as the sitting chief executive.
“We will file an impeachment case against her and I would tend to believe that she was part of the conspiracy,” Duterte told reporters in a media interview on Wednesday.
“She was part of – Remember na walang AMLC clearance. So walang statement dapat lumabas kay sa may billion ako o piso lang galing diyan sa Central Bank. [So there should be no statement that will come out that I have billion or one peso from the Central Bank.],” the President added.
Duterte told Morales that she would be chagrined after realizing that she was not supposed to release such documents.
“That hindi siya dapat pumasok diyan lalo na (She shouldn’t step in especially) if the evidence is illegally obtained. AMLC says wala sila (they are not). Naghugas ng kamay. So saan mo kinuha?Because the only source is AMLC,” the chief executive pointed out.
Apart from the Office of the Ombudsman, IBP also called out to the President to heed the mandate of the Ombudsman and submit himself to investigation inviting heated remarks from the Palace.
”The President’s retaliatory moves against those who have kept him under close scrutiny and critical of his governance are but signs of his tyrannical tendencies which the public must always be on guard,” Cortez said. (davaotoday.com)