PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he would not put himself under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman, which will investigate his and his family’s wealth allegedly acquired from corrupt activities.
Duterte assured the public, however, that he was not corrupt. He said while his bank deposits would not reach P40 million, his family was not “dirt poor.”
“I will not submit [to the]jurisdiction, to [the authority of]the Ombudsman. The Armed Forces, the police, are being charged before the Ombudsman. I myself paid for the bribe. I ask my friends to help out in [bribing the]investigators. All of us had to pay Ombudsman investigators, that’s why I won’t submit to its jurisdiction,” Duterte said in a speech before members of Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in his hometown of Davao City on Saturday night.
The President then accused Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang of investigating him based on an alleged fake Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report.
Carandang said the Office of the Ombudsman approved a request by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman in Mindanao to obtain the AMLC documents and confirmed its receipt from the council to be used for “intelligence purposes”. He did not name the official who made the request from the Mindanao office.
Duterte insisted, however, that he would not submit to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman whom he accused of “waving fabricated evidence, lying to his [her]teeth in front of the nation.”
“And then you want me to submit to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman? Who will now investigate the Ombudsman? This Carandang, [Ombudsman Conchita Carpio] Morales…who will investigate them? There is a vacuum in the law,” Duterte said.
The Ombudsman’s investigation stemmed from the plunder complaint filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th against then Davao City Mayor Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman on May 5, 2016.
This was before the May 9, 2016 elections, which Duterte eventually won.
“And so you, Carandang, you should be ready. I am not threatening you. If the Philippines goes into chaos, I will come for you first. That’s why I will not, for the life of me, [submit to the Ombudman’s jurisdiction],” Duterte said.
“I will ask for the records, I will talk to the policemen, I will talk to the generals, and I will talk to the people who were unjustly convicted. And I will encourage them to file a case.
And when the time comes, if we cannot agree with each other, then let us decide to submit it to the Armed Forces or else there will be chaos,” Duterte said.
The President enjoys immunity from suit until his term expires on June 30, 2022.
Ombudsman Concita Carpio-Morales, a retired Supreme Court justice, said in a statement on Friday that her office would not be intimidated by the President and that he should have no nothing to fear if he has nothing to hide. She also maintained that her office would continue to investigate the President and his family’s wealth.
The President responded by accusing the Ombudsman of selective justice.
“You say now that you have evidence on Mr. Duterte, say you will proceed with [investigating]the case, but the AMLC has not issued [a]resolution to release the statement of my bank accounts. You tell me not to be onion-skinned? How about my right to freedom of expression? P*******a” Duterte said.
He asked the Ombudsman why cases filed from way back were not prioritized and accused the office of “selective justice.”
“Why prioritize my case, which is even based on false claims. You can just ask your friends in the central bank, I will slap you with those documents,” Duterte said.
‘We should all resign’
The President then challenged Ombudsman Morales and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign with him and open their bank accounts to the public right after.
“I am ready to lose my honor, life and the Presidency. I now challenge Carpio and Chief Justice Sereno, sige nga (try me). You allow yourselves to be used [as political tool]. I challenge the two of you, we will go to Congress, in a simple ceremony, we sign a letter of resignation,” Duterte said.
“Then let us open all the books [of my bank accounts], including yours,” Duterte added.
Duterte said his bank deposits would not reach P40 million but admitted that his family was not “dirt poor.”
The money, Duterte said, was from an out of court settlement case involving him and his brothers, as well as income from the family’s ice plant and lumber business.
“You will be lucky if you find P40 million. For those who are from Davao, are we really that poor? You can trace it in [the]IBAA. You’ll find the first million there. All of my salary as a mayor is in Landbank, and it won’t reach P40 million. Go ahead and look,” Duterte said.
The President said that he even purchased a small house called “House of Hope” to serve as shelter for children with cancer.
“Do you think we are dirt poor? You say we are dirt poor. Son of a bitch. Those from Davao, you know all of these,” Duterte said.
“I die with a bad reputation, fine. I die with a good reputation, fine. But I will never engage in corruption. I don’t have anything to do with that. I could not have survived 22 years [in public service]if the people of Davao knew that I was a thief,” Duterte added.
The President said in a speech in June that he also had his share of stolen loot out of government coffers but spent them all. This week, he admitted to bribing investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman in exchange for the dismissal of what he claimed were flimsy complaints lodged against government officials. He did not name them.