THE decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to junk the treason and espionage case against former President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th has further confirmed the bias of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales toward Aquino, anti-corruption advocates said on Monday.
Doubts on Morales’ impartiality, according to Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) founding chairman Dante Jimenez, have reinforced calls to remove her either through impeachment or people’s initiative.
Jimenez noted that the treason and espionage case was the third complaint involving Aquino that was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Aquino and Trillanes, in a complaint filed by former Philippine National Police Chief Roberto Lastimoso, Enrico Sampang, Moslemen Macarambon, former congressman Ronald Adamat and Dioscoro Esteban Jr., were accused of violating Articles 114 (treason), and 117 (espionage) of the Revised Penal Code.
The complaint was in connection with the back-channel negotiations carried out in 2012 by Trillanes, who acted under the authority of then President Aquino, with Chinese representatives in connection with the 2012 standoff at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.
The complainants accused Trillanes of meddling with the country’s foreign affairs and placing national security at risk.
In dismissing the complaint, the Ombudsman said: “Treason is a war crime. It is not an all-time offense…While there is peace, there are no traitors. There must be actual hostilities…Back-channel negotiations with China cannot be construed as ‘giving aid to enemy.’”
Jimenez noted that prior to the treason case, the Ombudsman also junked graft charges against Aquino and
former budget secretary Florencio Abad in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
The DAP complaint was filed by the VACC, Bayan Muna, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Gabriela.
Jimenez also cited the decision of the Ombudsman to exclude the former president in the case involving the botched Mamasapano operation that led to the death of 44 Special Action Force commandos in 2015.
“Not only once but thrice did Ombudsman Morales dismiss complaints against Aquino and it showed that she is really biased,” he added.
Jimenez said the VACC legal team would start today the case build-up for the filing of an impeachment case against Morales once Congress convenes in July for its second regular session.
Jimenez however said his group was still hoping Morales would heed the VACC’s call for her to resign, to spare Congress of the grueling impeachment process.
The VACC is determined to remove Morales even if the Ombudsman is set to retire in July 2018, he said.
“We will not wait for her (Morales) to retire. It would be unfair to the Filipino people to allow her to stay for another year,” he added.