Amid investigation of his and his family’s bank transactions, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said that he will form a commission that would look into the alleged corruption in the Office of Ombudsman.
In a recorded interview on state-owned People’s Television (PTV4), Duterte said that he would create a body that would scrutinize the agency for its alleged corruption and partiality when investigating cases.
“You have to be investigated also. One of these days, kayo ang sigurado kong hahabulin dahil nga sa partiality ninyo. ‘Pag hindi ninyo imbestigahan ang sarili ninyo, ako ang mag-set up ng commission to investigate you as a President with investigating powers [You also have to be investigated. One of these days, you will surely be hounded because of your partiality. If you do not investigate yourselves, I will set up a commission to investigate you, as a President with investigating powers],” he said.
“Magkagulo tayo niyan kasi sino ang maimbestiga sa kalokohan ninyo? What is the remedy of the Filipino kung kayo magsige hingi. Huwag mo akong lokohin. Don’t force my hand into it. I will set up a commission to investigate the Ombudsman, the institution itself and all [There will be trouble between us, because who will investigate your mischiefs? What is the remedy of the Filipino if Ombudsman itself was crooked? Don’t fool me. Don’t force my hand into it. I will set up a commission to investigate the Ombudsman, the institution itself and all],” the President added.
The Ombudsman’s inquiry had begun after Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed a complaint saying that the President and his family hid huge amount of money in different bank accounts.
Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang has been leading the inquiry and has already requested the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for a final authentication of Duterte family’s bank transaction records.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales had authorized Carandang to act on the complaint filed by Trillanes, after she inhibited herself from the investigation since the President’s son-in-law, Manases Carpio, is her nephew.
From the records obtained by the Ombudsman, Carandang said initial bank records reveal the flow of money that went in and out from Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, and his joint accounts with his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Accounts of the President’s common-law wife Honeylet Avancena, and their daughter, Kitty, were also included in the said records.
According to the Ombudsman, the flow of money into the first family’s bank accounts could amount to a billion of pesos over the years.
On the other hand, Duterte dared the Ombudsman to look for the alleged P211-million in his bank account.
“The Ombudsman has investigated me ever since, hindi nahinto iyan. OK lang iyan sa akin iyan, nasa gobyerno ako. Kayong mga Ombudsman, hanapin ninyo iyan. Kasi kung makuha ninyo iyang 211 million, maghati tayo, ibigay ko sa inyo, tapos magdemanda kayo ng kaso [The Ombudsman has investigated me ever since. It has not stopped. That’s OK with me, we’re in the government. If you find that P211-million pesos, let’s share it with each other, I’ll give to you, then you file a case],” he said.
Duterte also said that the anti-graft agency itself was beset by corruption, saying that government and military people with cases before bribed officials to dismiss complaint against them. He added that he himself had been offered to dismiss his case in exchange for payment, however, he did not agree to it.
The Chief Executive then questioned the agency for apparently favoring solons in league with Liberal Party, saying they dismissed cases relating to their Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“Wala namang Liberal na nakita ko, puro naman sila may DAP cases. Bakit ‘yung mga Liberal, are you beholden to the Liberals [I have not seen any Liberal, they all have DAP cases. Why Liberal, are you beholden to them],” he said.
Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor said that her family welcomed the probe since it would allow them to answer the allegations against them.