26 lawmakers urge House to ‘preserve, protect’ Ombudsman

Bea Cupin
(3rd UPDATE) The lawmakers file a resolution seeking support for the Office of the Ombudsman as it looks into the wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte

PROTECT HER. Members of the House, led by members of the Liberal Party, urge their colleagues to support the Office of the Ombudsman. File photo by Noel Celis/AFP

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Members of the House of Representatives, led by key members of the Liberal Party (LP), filed on Monday, October 9, a resolution calling on their colleagues to rally behind the Office of the Ombudsman amid threats from no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

In the resolution, 26 lawmakers urged “the House of Representatives to express support to preserve and protect the constitutional independence and integrity of the Office of the Ombudsman.”

The signatories, a mix of majority and independent minority members, include:

  1. Deputy Speaker and Marikina 2nd District Representative Miro Quimbo
  2. LP secretary general and Quezon City 6th District Representative Jose Christopher Belmonte
  3. Quezon City 3rd District Representative Jorge Banal
  4. Cebu City 1st District Representative Raul del Mar
  5. Bukidnon 1st District Representative Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba 
  6. Dinagat Islands Representative Kaka Bag-ao 
  7. Pangasinan 4th District Representative Christopher de Venecia 
  8. Caloocan 2nd District Representative Edgar Erice 
  9. Camarines Norte 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado
  10. Capiz 1st District Representative Emmanuel Billones 
  11. Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman 
  12. Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin 
  13. Northern Samar 1st District Representative Raul Daza
  14. Samar 1st District Representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento
  15. Zamboanga del Norte 3rd District Representative Isagani Amatong
  16. Quezon 2nd District Representative Vicente Alcala 
  17. Batangas 6th District Representative Vilma Santos-Recto
  18. Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Ramirez-Sato 
  19. Zambales 2nd District Representative Cheryl Deloso-Montalla
  20. Laguna 4th District Representative Benjamin Agarao 
  21. Cavite 2nd District Representative Strike Revilla 
  22. Bohol 1st District Representative Rene Relampagos 
  23. Negros Oriental 1st District Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong 
  24. Siquijor Representative Raul Rocamora 
  25. Agusan del Norte 1st District Representative Lawrence Fortun 
  26. Cavite 1st District Representative Francis Gerald Abaya

More legislators are expected to endorse the House resolution.

According to LP sources, all members of the party support the resolution. Those who did not sign it were either out of the country or sick at the time of its release.

The Ombudsman is in the middle of a probe into allegations that Duterte lied in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) by failing to declare certain bank accounts.

While Malacañang said they were open to the probe, Duterte himself lashed out against the Ombudsman, saying he would have the office investigated for “partiality.”

The President has also threatened to seek the impeachment of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who is set to retire in 2018.

The Ombudsman is an independent body mandated to check on alleged wrongdoing by government officials. In particular, it focuses on allegations of corruption.

The case against Duterte was prompted by the filing of a complaint by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, among the President’s fiercest critics in Congress. Trillanes does not belong to the LP but is allied with its members in the Senate minority. – Rappler.com

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said former House Speaker and Quezon City 2nd District Representative Feliciano Belmonte Jr was among the first 26 who signed the resolution.

Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.