PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will not call for the impeachment of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales just yet even after he accused her office of corruption, a Palace official said on Monday.
“At this stage, he has the capacity to do [call for her impeachment]so. While the Ombudsman has the power to discipline, the President has concurring authority [to discipline]if necessary. But he has not made that statement yet and that position [of calling for impeachment]has not been made forward yet,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a news conference.
In an expletive-filled speech last Saturday before his fellow lawyers, the President repeatedly said that he would not submit to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman because the office was in the business of allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for dismissing complaints against mayors, police and the military.
The President even said that he paid the bribe himself.
Abella, however, maintained that the President was not defying the rule of law in refusing to cooperate with the Ombudsman that was investigating his and his family’s wealth.
The investigation stemmed from the P2.4 billion plunder complaint filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th against then Davao City Mayor Duterte last May 5, 2016. The national elections were held on May 9, which Duterte eventually won.
“The President respects the institution. What he said was he would not submit to its (Ombudsman’s) jurisdiction because their position is suspect. That is where he is coming from. It doesn’t affect his respect on institutions,” Abella stressed.
“What he is saying is that the Supreme Court Justice [Maria Lourdes Sereno] and the Ombudsman [Conchita Carpio-Morales] have allowed themselves to be used by political forces to discredit him and his administration and call for his ouster,” Abella added.
The President, in his capacity as Chief Executive, will be immune from prosecution until his term expires at 12 noon of June 30, 2022. The President, however, can be removed through an impeachment process just like the rest of the impeachable officials heading Constitutional Commissions like the Ombudsman, Chief Justice and the Chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).