MANILA — Solicitor General Jose Calida on Wednesday said Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang can be held liable for violating the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).
This, after Carandang said that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) denied being the source of documents on President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged bank accounts.
Calida said he personally sought AMLC’s confirmation if the documents presented by Carandang came from the agency, adding that the latter told him that it was not the source of the said documents.
“In response to your letter dated October 2, 2017, it is hereby confirmed that a statement to the effect that the Anti-Money Laundering Council is not the source of the documents and information attached to the complaint of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, and that the AMLC has not provided the Office of the Ombudsman with any report on subject accounts, was indeed issued,” said the AMLC in its letter to Calida signed by Executive Director Mel Georgie Racela.
Calida said Carandang has failed to fulfill his mandate under the Constitution and allowed himself to be used for political purposes.
“You will be held liable under the law. Deputy Ombudsman Carandang allowed himself to be a tool of political harassment. In fact, he can and will be liable under the AMLA,” he said adding that “there is a clear case of grave misconduct on the part of Carandang as any publicity issued by the Office of the Ombudsman must be balanced, fair and true. ”
Under the AMLA, any person who, with malice, or in bad faith, reports or files a completely unwarranted or false information relative to money laundering transactions against any person shall be subject to a penalty of six months to four years of imprisonment and a fine not less than PHP100,000.
Calida said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales cannot escape responsibility for Carandang’s act even if she has inhibited from the investigation on the alleged bank accounts of the President.
“You (Carpio-Morales) cannot shirk from your accountability by feigning inhibition while condoning the actions of your deputy’s fraudulent actuations,” he added.
Calida also warned that the attack against the President and the government are subversive activities.
“What we gathered is that there are black operations against President Duterte that come from various form and colors…They will not succeed. They are doing subversive activities and we can send them to jail for that,” Calida said at a press conference Wednesday.
Among the black operations against the President is the supposed investigation of his reported unexplained wealth.
Calida said the government is now investigating the conspiracy to oust Duterte.
“We are getting information from various sources on this conspiracy,” Calida said.
When asked why the opposition badly wants Duterte out of office, Calida mentioned two reasons:
“The political losers cannot accept the fact that they loss to a Mayor from Davao City; and It is a matter of political lust. They want to regain their political power and they are using many issues like the EJK (Extra Judicial Killing), death of minors.”
“They are throwing everything to the President,” Calida said.
Calida said Carandang is being assisted by two lawyers, including one who served under the Arroyo administration, as part of a conspiracy against President Duterte.
The top government counsel though declined to identify the said lawyers adding that they are still in the process of getting additional information.
“Carandang was being helped by two lawyers, one of them is a former official of the Ombudsman and the other was a former official during the time of PGMA (President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) but who campaigned for a presidential candidate who lost in the last election,” Calida said in a press briefing Wednesday.
“I’d like to name him right now but we will get more details. We are now carefully studying and getting information from other sources that the conspiracy did not stop from this people. What we have gathered is that there is a black ops against President Duterte that come in various forms and colors,” he added.
He said that leftist and members of the clergy are part of the conspiracy but said the government is confident, any such effort will not succeed.
“I warn them they will not succeed,” Calida said, adding that these groups may face charges if they conduct any subversive activities.
Asked on what are the possible motives of those he claimed to be out to get Duterte, Calida said some of them cannot accept the fact that they have lost power to Duterte.
“It’s a matter of political lust. They want to regain their political power and they are using many issues like the extrajudicial killings, death of minors, they are throwing everything to the president,” he explained.
On Tuesday, lawyers Manuelito Luna and Emilio Mallari filed graft and corruption and betrayal of public trust against Carandang and Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman before the Office of the President.
A separate complaint for “committing grave misconduct and gross dishonesty constituting betrayal of public trust, violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act and the code of conduct and ethical standards of public officials and employees” also filed against Carandang before Malacanang by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras and former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong. (PNA)