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Suspension of Deputy Ombudsman an impeachable offense, says Trillanes

The suspension of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang is an impeachable offense, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Monday, as he criticized the move as another tactic of President Rodrigo Duterte to supposedly “bully” institutions.

In a statement, Trillanes cited Article XI, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution, which creates the “independent” Office of the Ombudsman.

“This is an impeachable offense as it violated Section 5 of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, which clearly states the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman and its Deputies. The Supreme Court has already resolved this,” Trillanes, a staunch critic of the President, said. 

“Clearly, this is another Duterte tactic that's meant to bully democratic institutions into submission so he could go on with his dictatorial and corrupt ways,” the senator added.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced earlier that Carandang has been put under preventive suspension for 90 days and charged with grave misconduct and grave dishonesty for the unauthorized disclosures of the alleged bank transactions of Duterte and his family.

Carandang announced in September last year the Office of the Ombudsman's probe into the wealth of the First Family based on a complaint of Trillanes.

Trillanes claimed that the basis for the complaint against Duterte were bank records from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Carandang then claimed that the Ombudsman is in possession of bank records that show the flow of money through deposits and withdrawals from Duterte's sons, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo and Sebastian "Baste," and his joint accounts with his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

The AMLC, however, denied the following day that it had released such documents to the Ombudsman. —ALG, GMA News