By ARGYLL GEDUCOS
Malacañang said yesterday the order to dismiss former Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang was not illegal or unethical as it was based on both facts and the law.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, said that it was clear that Carandang violated the law when he disclosed unverified documents to besmirch President Duterte.
“I think it’s very clear that the dismissal order is founded on both facts and law,” Roque said. “Clearly, he violated the anti-money laundering act himself when he made public certain documents which were later on confirmed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council not to be accurate,” he added.
Roque also said Carandang was unethical when he handled the investigation publicly and used his position for political motives. “So it was really rumors on a matter that should have been handled on a confidential basis. And I think that merits the order of dismissal,” he said.
“Now is it unethical? I think it was unethical for Carandang to have used his office for political reasons because that is clearly what motivated him to use unverified information from the AMLC in a manner that is contrary to law,” he added.
Roque said that Carandang can avail of a judicial review if he does not agree with the decision of the Office of the President to dismiss him. “He can avail of judicial review. But meanwhile, it is immediately executory,” he said.
The Palace official added that Malacañang would give incoming Ombudsman Samuel Martires the opportunity to effect the dismissal order as soon as he takes oath. “Well, as far as I know, it is the OP that should also implement that but we leave it to the incoming Ombudsman how it would be implemented. We will give him the opportunity to implement that,” Roque said.
“Normally, it’s the Office of the President that implements decisions like in the Energy Regulatory Commission for presidential appointees. But we will await Ombudsman Martires’s assumption into his new office and we would hope that the decision be executed as soon as possible,” he added.
Carandang was dismissed after he disclosed President Duterte’s supposed bank transactions reaching P1 billion without the authority of the AMLC last year.
Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV, staunch critic of Duterte, has criticized the dismissal of Carandang for graft and corruption and betrayal of public trust.