Ombudsman exec suspended for grave misconduct

MANILA -- Malacanang announced on Monday that Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang has been charged and put under 90-day preventive suspension.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) has formally charged Carandang for grave misconduct and grave dishonesty for misuse of confidential information and disclosing false information on the alleged bank transactions of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family.

Roque said Carandang has violated Section 3A of Republic 3019 causing any undue injury to any party, including government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage of preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial function through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.

Carandang has also violated Section 3K of RA 3019 in relation to Section 2, Rule 5 of Office of the Ombudsman, Administrative Order No. 7 for divulging valuable information of confidential character acquired by his office or by him on account of his official position.

Pursuant to the formal complaint filed by lawyers Manolito R. Luna and Elijo P. Mallari, Roque said the OES has put Carandang under preventive suspension for a period of 90 days effective immediately.

Carandang, who was tasked to investigate the alleged bank transactions of the First Family, confirmed to the media in September 2017 that the Ombudsman had received information on the alleged PHP1 billion bank transactions through the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The AMLC, however, categorically denied that it was the source of the documents and information attached to the complaint filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV regarding the alleged bank accounts of President Duterte.

So the charges tempt from authorized disclosure of confidential information which AMLC clarified did not come from them which AMLC also said was and misleading, Roque said.

It is clear that the bank records were not authenticated and hence, it is hearsay and kwentong kutsero (exaggerated), he added.

When asked if the President has the authority to impose sanctions on officials of the Office of the Ombudsman, Roque said only the Ombudsman is impeachable.

The deputies are not. They are subject to the disciplinary powers of the Chief Executive and this has been decided in the Gonzales case. That's the law, Roque explained.

Roque said the OES has found probable cause to charge Carandang, who has 10 days to answer the charges.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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