The Liberal party Senators Bam Aquino, Kiko Pangilinan and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday expressed their concern over the attacks and threats of the government against democratic institutions such as the Ombudsman, Supreme Court, and the Commission on Human Rights.
Referring to the recent growing conflict between President Rodrigo Duterte and Office of the Ombudsman, Aquino said that “unbiased institutions should not be attacked but encouraged.”
“These attacks on our democratic institutions are alarming and unproductive. Independent and unbiased institutions should not be attacked but encouraged,” said Sen. Bam Aquino.
Aquino reiterated his support on Commission on Human Rights and Office of the Ombudsman.
“Kailangan natin ng mga tanggapan, tulad ng CHR at Office of the Ombudsman, na walang takot na iimbestigahan at lalabanan ang pang-aabuso at ang korupsyon, [We need institutions, such as CHR and Office of the Ombudsman, which have no fear in investigating and fighting abuses and corruption]” added Aquino.
Pangilinan said that the President tirades on institutions are “disturbing developments that weaken our democracy and respect for the rule of law.”
“We hope President Rodrigo Duterte will reconsider his position in refusing to cooperate with investigation. We agree with Ombudsman Morales that if he has nothing to hide, then he has nothing to fear,” said Pangilinan.
“Transparency and accountability should be the hallmark of this administration, as he promised the Filipino people,” Pangilinan added.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon emphasized that the power to investigate and prosecute impeachable officers “exclusively lies with Congress.”
“We must keep in mind that the Constitution has enough safeguards to discipline and go after erring officials. We should apply and follow the Constitution and the rule of law,” Drilon said.
The conflict stemmed after Office of the Ombudsman reported that Duterte and his family have billions in the bank which the president defends that his wealth is inherited by his father former Davao Governor Vicente Duterte.
However, Palace released a statement on allegations against Duterte, said that the President has nothing to hide.
“The President respects the internal processes of the Ombudsman as an independent body, and trusts its impartiality in the conduct of its fact-finding duty,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.