The Supreme Court (SC) en banc on Tuesday junked outright the disbarment charges filed against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, an impeachable officer under the 1987 Constitution.
The SC said the Ombudsman can be removed only by impeachment and cannot be charged with disbarment during her incumbency.
Morales was charged with disbarment by former Manila city councilor Greco Belgica who asked to strip her of her license as a lawyer for clearing former President Benigno Aquino 3rd in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which was allegedly used to bribe senators and congressmen to impeach then-Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Belgica asked the SC to disbar Morales after she allegedly violated the lawyer’s oath and the canon of professional responsibility when she approved earlier this month a resolution absolving Aquino of the charges for technical malversation, usurpation of legislative powers and graft.
It was only then-Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who was given a “slap on the wrist” by Morales after he was indicted for usurpation of legislative powers for unlawfully issuing National Budget Circular No. 541, which was used to carry out the acceleration program.