MANILA — If President Rodrigo Duterte is really serious about questioning the term of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the matter must be brought to court, a senator said Wednesday.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon made this remark after Duterte, in a speech, said that Morales is not entitled to a full seven-year term since she was merely serving the remaining term of her predecessor, Merceditas Guitierrez, who resigned her post in April 2011 before her impeachment trial.
In the same speech, Duterte also slammed Morales for her “selective justice” saying that her office handled cases of lawmakers implicated in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam slowly.
“If the President really believes that there is a question on the term of office, the Solicitor General can file a quo-warranto case before the court, meaning he will question the continued discharge of the functions of the office,” Drilon said.
“The SolGen is the one authorized to file a quo-warranto — not every citizen of Tom, Dick, and Harry can file a quo-warranto case. It has to be the SolGen,” he added.
Drilon, however, said that to him, Carpio was indeed entitled to a full seven-year term.
“As distinguished from other constitutional officials, where it is expressly stated that the appointee who assumes the unexpired portion of the term will only serve the unexpired portion — the COA (Commission on Audit), the Comelec (Commission on Elections), for example. There is no such expressed provision on the Office of the Ombudsman,” the senator said.
Morales was appointed in 2010 by then President Benigno Aquino III.
On June 29, lawyer Rey Nathaniel Ifurung filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning Morales’s stay as the Ombudsman, saying she should have vacated her post during the expiration of Gutierrez’s term in February 2015.