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Malacañang sees demolition job in Ombudsman probe

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it sees a demolition job in the Ombudsman's probe into the Duterte family's wealth, which it said is meant to stoke "popular outrage" against President Rodrigo Duterte.

"What all this confirms is that there is indeed a deliberate effort to discredit the President, to mislead the public, and to create popular outrage against the duly elected chief executive," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Tuesday, October 3.

"The public's mind seems to be being set," he added. (READ: Filipinos urged to back Ombudsman's probe into Duterte's bank accounts)

Abella also said that the Office of the Ombudsman "is showing its true political color," and that the Ombudsman should "conduct an impartial and fair investigation."

Referring to the same agency, Abella said: "It should not be party to a demolition job. We have seen this before. This is déjà vu." (READ: Duterte says he will snub Ombudsman probe)

 

In his statement on Tuesday, Abella also said the Office of the Ombudsman "was being economical with the truth" when it said it "observed confidentiality" in investigating the Duterte family's wealth.

Abella, for one, disputed Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang's statement that "he was reading through the documents shown to him by the media during an ambush interview in response to media's inquiry on the status of the complaint."

First, Abella said, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales already declared, "As to the documents in its possession, the office stands by its word." (READ: Ombudsman insists on constitutional duty to probe Duterte)

"Second, Carandang's claim is contrary to the earlier statement of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Secretariat that he sent a letter dated August 17, 2017 to initiate investigation of President Duterte's alleged bank accounts," Abella said. 

Also on Tuesday, complaints were filed against Carandang before the Office of the Executive Secretary in Malacañang for baring details of his agency's investigation into the Duterte family's wealth.

Duterte earlier threatened to investigate the Office of the Ombudsman after the agency said bank transactions of the President and his family through the years totaled more than P1 billion ($19.63 million). (READ: Ombudsman has no authority over Duterte – Koko Pimentel– Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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