SolGen: Plunder raps vs. Duterte at Ombudsman ‘terminated’

MANILA The plunder case filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV against President Rodrigo Duterte has already been closed and terminated, Solicitor General Jose Calida said Tuesday.

Calida was referring to the plunder case filed by Trillanes against Duterte in May 2016 over allegations of the former Davao City mayor's unexplained wealth and undeclared bank accounts.

The Solicitor General said he inquired from the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), through a letter dated Feb. 8, the status of the criminal complaint filed by Trillanes on May 5, 2016 which accused Duterte of maintaining ghost employees in Davao City that could have funded the latter's PHP2.4 billion worth of deposits.

I received a letter from [Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur] Carandang stating that the investigation has already been closed and terminated. The recommendation to terminate was approved by Deputy Ombudsman Cyril Ramos on 29 November 2017, Calida said, citing the reply he received from the Office of the Ombudsman on the matter.

It can be recalled Carandang has been suspended by Malacanang over unauthorized disclosures of Duterte's alleged bank accounts.

Calida questioned the decision of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to withhold from the public the status of the case.

A public officer must be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, and efficiency, Calida told reporters during the press conference.

Ombudsman Carpio-Morales, being the Ombudsman, must be the protector of the people. She has the constitutional duty to publicize matters covered by investigations when the circumstances so warrant and with due prudence, he noted.

This case involves the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Why are you withholding this information? When this case was filed, a press conference was even conducted. Three months after the termination of the case, the public has still no knowledge that the evidence supporting the allegations of Trillanes is without merit, he explained.

If the case, in the magnitude like this, when the President of the Philippines is the respondent and the case was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman, why will not disclose it to the public? Are they also cuddling the complainant, Senator Trillanes? Calida asked.

Calida said Senator Trillanes who is always badgering the President about this. Now, what can you say now? His evidence was junked, and because it is junked, it is another word for garbage.

The government's top lawyer also said the Senate should stop the hearing about Duterte's unexplained wealth and undeclared bank accounts considering it is based on the complaint filed before the OMB.

Knowing that this frivolous case was terminated by the Ombudsman, Sen. Trillanes now seeks to have another Senate hearing on the matter to convince the public about his garbage junked by the Ombudsman, Calida said.

The Senate should stop this non-sense investigation." he urged.

Meanwhile, Calida said that he would inform President Duterte on the matter through a formal letter.

Source: Philippine News Agency