A group of lawyers led by two former lawmakers on Friday filed a motion before the Office of the President, urging it to enforce “necessary and reasonable force” to implement the 90-day preventive suspension against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.
In their joint motion, the complainants, lawyers Manuelito Luna and Eligio Mallari, asked Malacañang to “bodily or physically remove” Carandang from office as the latter refused to acknowledge the suspension imposed on him.
The appeal was made after the Office of the Ombudsman defied the Office of the Executive Secretary’s order in January to suspend Carandang for 90 days.
“It is respectfully prayed of the honorable office to cause respondent Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur H. Carandang to be bodily or physically removed from office or restrained from the exercise thereof [for a period of 90 days counted from date of actual suspension], through the use of necessary and reasonable force,” Luna and Mallari said.
The lawyers recommended that the executive branch could deploy a group of enforcers within the vicinity of the Ombudsman building in Diliman, Quezon City, to block Carandang.
“To prevent Carandang from returning to his office and make a mockery of the process, contingents of enforcers may be stationed at or near the entry and exit points of the Ombudsman building, Agham Road, North Triangle, Diliman, Quezon City, and empowered to prevent such from happening,” they said.
Carandang, who announced that the Office of the Ombudsman has launched an investigation of the alleged billion-peso unexplained wealth of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family based on a complaint of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, was charged and ordered suspended for grave misconduct and grave dishonesty.
The decision against Carandang was in compliance with the administrative complaint filed by Luna, Mallari and former lawmakers Jacinto Paras and Glenn Chong in October 2017.
Carandang was found liable for “misuse of confidential information and disclosure of information” with regard to the First Family’s bank records.
In a media interview, Paras said Carandang “divulged falsely the purported records of the President,” which had been denied by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales had said Carandang’s ouster clearly violates the 2014 ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) that invalidates the President’s power to remove a Deputy Ombudsman from office.
But Luna, during the same media interview on Friday, expressed confidence that the ruling can be reversed.
“The legal basis is the law itself. The ruling of the Supreme Court is 8-7 and based on precedents in the past, the Supreme Court reverses itself once an issue is again brought up to [its]jurisdiction. So we believe that Section 8 of RA [Republic Act] 6770 is [still valid],” Luna said.
The lawyer was referring to Section 8(2) of RA 6770, which the SC declared unconstitutional on January 28, 2014 for violating the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.
An earlier ruling in 2012 upheld the constitutionality of the provision by an even vote of 7-7, leading to the dismissal of a consolidated petition of then-Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales 3rd and then-Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit.