The ombudsman completed the Trillanes vs Duterte plunder complaint investigation in November 2017 but informed the solicitor general about it only on February 12.
MANILA, Philippines — Government allies accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of concealing the investigation she conducted in connection with the plunder complaint filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV against President Rodrigo Duterte.
The ombudsman completed the said investigation in November of last year but informed the solicitor general about it only on February 12.
With this, the Office of the Solicitor General is studying the possible charges it could file against Morales.
The plunder complaint stemmed from the alleged hidden wealth of the president.
“This will be another case probably before the Supreme Court and I will be the one to argue it,” said Calida.
“Remember the president is the chief executive anyone who doesn’t agree with him should go to court and we will meet him there,” he added.
Calida claims that he would not have learned of the said decision had he not written a letter to the ombudsman last Friday to know the status of the complaint.
Based on the reply of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang on Monday, the complaint was already “case closed and terminated” on November 29 of last year.
According to Calida, the president has the right to know the status of the complaint.
“It should be noted that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales inhibited herself from this matter. It concerns the integrity of the president of the Philippines. She should explain first why she kept this from the public,” said the solicitor general.
With this development, Calida believes the Senate has no reason to investigate the allegations against the president.
In response, opposition members Senator Antonio Trillanes said, “Bakit sila nagpapanic? Bakit ayaw nilang mapahiya ako and most of all bakit ayaw pirmahan ni Duterte yung waiver, ayaw niyang tanggapin ang hamon ko. Pirmahan niya yung waiver, kapag mali ako, magreresign ako,” said Trillanes.
(Why are they panicking? Why don’t they want to embarrass me? And most of all why did President Duterte did not want to sign the waiver. He does not want to accept my challenge. He should sign my waiver. If I’m wrong, I will resign.)
While Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano said, “I am confident that the ombudsman would find out and prove that indeed the bank account and transaction records of Duterte are true and correct — it’s just a matter of time.”
Ombudsman Morales has yet to comment on the matter. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue
Malacañang lauds CA’s decision to halt suspension order of Ombudsman vs ERC commissioners
Court of Appeals (CA) stops the 60-day suspension of ERC commissioners: Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta Ana.
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang supports the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to issue a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales in implementing the one-year suspension against Energy Regulatory Commission commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta Ana.
According to the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the TRO issued is founded on extreme necessity.
Roque also said that if the TRO did not happen, the suspension order will seriously paralyze the ERC and will cause the economy to suffer grave damage.
Because of this, the Office of the President calls the court decision “a step in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, the Power for People Coalition contested the decision of the CA before the Senate during a committee hearing on ERC.
The group said that greater public interest and service should always be upheld even if it means suspension of public officials and temporarily disrupting operations of some certain bodies such as ERC.
It also said that the CA should look into the coal mining industry to realize the irreparable damage it causes to its affected areas.
In the end, the group insisted that the four commissioners should honor the suspension order of the ombudsman and leave the Meralco contracts untouched. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue
Senators push to file a diplomatic protest against China
FILE PHOTO: Snapshot of a DA-BFAR video on Benham Rise / Philippine Rise
MANILA, Philippines — Following Beijing’s move to rename five underwater sea features of Benham or Philippine Rise after it conducted a marine research in the area in 2004.
Some senators led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV called on the Duterte administration to file a diplomatic protest against China.
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) approved last year the names given by China to the said sea features.
What irks the senator is that Beijing used Chinese names for the sea features despite the United Nations’ recognition that the Benham Rise is part of the Philippines territory.
According to Trillanes, the filing of diplomatic protest shows the Philippines’ strong opposition to China’s move.
“We are not agreeing to what they did. But this administration has not filed a diplomatic protest or even verbally opposed it. We heard nothing from them,” said Trillanes.
Several senators are in favor of filing such diplomatic protest against China.
“What China has been doing is already bullying the Philippine government,” said Sen. JV Ejercito.
“They cannot claim it. The United Nations has already declared that this is a part of our extended continental shelf. That’s very clear,” said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has expressed concern that Beijing might grab the Benham Rise next.
“Kung pinangalan na nila ng mga Chinese names ‘yung mga seamounts, hindi far-fetched na sabihin nila na kanila na naman ‘yun,” said Lacson.
(If they named seamounts with Chinese names, it’s not far fetched that they will soon grab them.)
However, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel is not concern over the matter.
“I’m not bothered. Read the rules who can propose names and who can oppose the proposals,” said Sen. Koko Pimentel.
Meantime, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said that the government does not recognize the names given by China to the undersea features of Philippine Rise.
Roque said that the Duterte administration already recommended to the Philippine embassy in Beijing to inform about the matter the Chinese government and the commission in charge of undersea features of countries or the International Hydrographic Organization. — Mai Bermudez | UNTV News and Rescue
SSS squabble cited as reason behind non-renewal of term of top execs
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will not tolerate squabble in the board of Social Security System (SSS).
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said that this is the reason why the president did not extend the term of Amado Valdez as chairman, and Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña as commissioner of SSS.
Both served on a hold-over capacity and their term expired on June 30, 2017.
“I think the president wants them replaced because he thinks SSS will be more efficient if there is no squabble among the board [members] of SSS,” said Roque. — UNTV News & Rescue