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IBP head: Creation of body to probe Ombudsman ‘constitutionally suspect’

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President Rodrigo Duterte's idea of creating a body to probe the alleged corruption in the Office of the Ombudsman could be constitutionally suspect, the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said Friday.

Reacting on Duterte's fresh tirades against the Ombudsman, which is probing allegations of ill-gotten wealth against him and his family, IBP president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo said public officials must not be onion-skinned.

"Public office is a public trust. Upon assumption of public office, a government official holds his life open to public scrutiny," Fajardo said in a statement.

"The creation of another body either by executive issuance or by an act of Congress that effectively defeats the independence and flexibility needed by the Ombudsman in the discharge of her duties is, at best, constitutionally suspect," he added.

Being a creation of the Constitution, the Ombudsman is an independent body that enjoys fiscal autonomy and "must be insulated from political pressure – most especially from the highest political office in the land," Fajardo said.

"To allow such pressure would result in the prostitution or impairment of its core functions," he added.

The Ombudsman has refused to be cowed by Duterte's threat as it vowed to  push through with its investigation on the multi-billion-peso bank accounts of the First Family as alleged by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

The anti-graft agency said Duterte has nothing to fear if there were no anomalous transactions in his bank accounts. —Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News

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