Garcia hits Ombudsman: Dismissal 'leverage' for impeachment case
MANILA, Philippines – House Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of issuing a dismissal order against her as a way to ensure the dismissal of the latter's impeachment case, which is pending before the House of Representatives.
Garcia made the claim on Monday, February 12, in response to a news release from the Office of the Ombudsman announcing a dismissal order against the Cebu 3rd District representative, over the purchase of the Balili property during her time as provincial governor.
Costing close to P100 million, half of the property turned out to be a mangrove.
In her second statement sent through the House media bureau, Garcia said the "only plausible explanation" for Morales' decision is an "attempt to reverse" a 2014 Court of Appeals decision that cleared her of grave misconduct in the deal.
"What the Ombudsman could not win in the court of law, she is now trying to win in the court of public opinion," said Garcia.
"Why resolve this case only now, over 5 years after its filing? With the pending impeachment complaint against the Ombudsman in which Deputy Speaker Garcia would be actively involved in its dispatch, being ex-officio member of the justice committee and a vigorous participant, Ombudsman Morales now seems to have the leverage to influence and secure the dismissal of the impeachment complaint against her," she added.
There is an impeachment complaint against Morales pending before the House secretary general. However, it is not considered a formal complaint since it has not been endorsed by any lawmaker.
Morales is set to retire in July this year. (READ: Morales vows action on cases by 2018 'unless impeached or convicted')
Alvarez, a lawyer, argued that nothing in the Constitution makes the Ombudsman decision legal. However, under Article XI of the Constitution, the Ombudsman may "direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith."
The Constitution also states that Congress may sanction, suspend, or dismiss its members. – Rappler.com