I will not be baited into abandoning my duties – Ombudsman Morales

MANILA, Philippines – As President Rodrigo Duterte continues to hit her office, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales remains firm about proceeding with their investigation into his and his family's wealth.

"I will not be baited into abandoning my constitutional duties. If the President has charges against me, I am prepared to answer the charges against him in the same manner,” Morales said.

Her statement on Tuesday is consistent with her previous declarations she pursue the probe in the face of threats by the President. (READ: Duterte to Morales, Sereno: Let's resign, let AFP probe us)

On Sunday, Morales said: "The Office has already stated its position; to abide by its constitutional duty.”

She was referring to her duty to act on the complaint of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that the President has P2.4 billion in his bank accounts, possibly sourced from ghost employees in Davao City when Duterte was mayor.

On Monday night, Duterte again said he doesn’t have anything more than P40 million in his bank accounts. Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang earlier said he observed a P1-billion cash flow in the bank transaction records in his possession.

Duterte said on Monday that an employee of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) stole his bank details and gave them to Carandang. The President did not elaborate.

Duterte has also threatened Carandang, on top of a pronouncement to investigate Morales and the entire Office of the Ombudsman, for corruption. (READ: Duterte says he will snub Ombudsman probe)

Cases were filed on Monday by lawyers associated with the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) against Carandang for “illegal and unlawful disclosure” of bank transaction records.

They filed it before the Office of the Executive Secretary in Malacañang. Carandang said he observed confidentiality in handling the probe.

Morales had earlier said they “stand by their word” as to the “documents in our possession.” Morales has inhibited from all Duterte-related cases.

“As public officials, we have sworn to uphold the rule of law. We should as well, serve with honor, honesty, and decency,” Morales also said in her statement. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.