MANILA, Philippines – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo hit Overall Deputy Ombudsman (ODO) Arthur Carandang for allegedly "disclosing" details of President Rodrigo Duterte's bank records from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
In a statement on Thursday, September 28, Panelo said that "investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes to the extent that the production of such records deprives a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication should not be disclosed while the proceedings are ongoing."
The lawyer cited Section 3 (f) of the Rules Implementing the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
"Lest ODO Carandang forgets, violation of the foregoing provision may subject the offender to administrative sanctions," Panelo said.
Panelo issued this statement after the Office of the Ombudsman said bank transactions of Duterte and his family through the years amount to a total of more than P1 billion ($19.63 million). The President is being accused of amassing hidden wealth.
The bank records from the AMLC, according to Carandang, "more or less" look like the documents submitted by Duterte critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to the Ombudsman.
In his statement on Thursday, Panelo added that "assuming for the sake of argument" that Carandang's information is correct, Duterte's supposed bank records "do not necessarily indicate that he is hiding money in the total amount of more than P1 billion."
"As stated by news reports, the alleged amount was computed based on 'in-and-out' bank transactions of the President's family through the years. Hence, this does not sufficiently prove that the President has accumulated money in the total amount of more than P1 billion at any given time," Panelo said.
"In any event, the President is clear that he will resign if it is proven that he has such amount of hidden wealth. Such confidence only goes to show that the President has nothing to hide," the chief presidential legal counsel said.
"Moreover, the President has been challenging his detractors to prove their accusation and not to use media to spread false news and innuendos against him and his family," Panelo said. – Rappler.com
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.