Palace dismisses Deputy Ombudsman Carandang

MANILA MalacaAang has dismissed Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang from service after he was found liable for graft and corruption, and betrayal of public trust.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed the dismissal order, which was released to Palace reporters on Wednesday, more than 10 months after Carandang alleged that President Rodrigo Duterte and his family have accumulated ill-gotten wealth amounting to billions of pesos.

Wherefore, premises considered, this Office hereby finds respondent Melchor Arthur H. Carandang, Overall Deputy Ombudsman of the Office of the Ombudsman, liable for graft and corruption, and betrayal of public trust and meted the penalty of dismissal from the service with all the necessary penalties, the dismissal order stated.

The decision stemmed from separate administrative complaints filed by lawyers Manuelito Luna and Eligio Mallari, and Jacinto Paras and Glenn Chong in October 2017.

In an interview with ABS-CBN correspondent Henry Omaga Diaz on Sept. 20 last year, Carandang declared that the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) acquired evidence of the said ill-gotten wealth in the form of bank transactions records from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

It appears that the OMB's (two) months had lapsed since such termination and nothing was heard from respondent Carandang in the media about such development, he was clearly only interested to broadcast an information adverse to the President. His keeping mum on information that was favorable to the President clearly amounted to manifest partiality, Medialdea stated in the dismissal order.

Medialdea said Carandang was found liable under Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, which penalizes the act of giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantages or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross negligence.

He said the OMD official also violated Section 7 of RA 6713 on disclosure and/or misuse of confidential information in order to give undue advantage to opposition and Duterte's critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

These transgressions of respondent Carandang constitute graft and corruption as well as betrayal of public trust which gravely affect his fitness to remain in public office, stated in Medialdea's dismissal order.

The decision also carries with it cancellation of eligibility, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, bar from taking civil service examinations, and forfeiture of retirement benefits of Carandang.

In January this year, the Palace slapped Carandang with a 90-day suspension while the investigation on the administrative complaints was being conducted.

However, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales did not enforce the suspension order, saying the President's power to discipline the Deputy Ombudsman was voided by a Supreme Court (SC) ruling in 2014.

Meanwhile, Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman and the OMF-Mindanao field investigation unit have been cleared since allegations and evidence do not suffice to establish a finding of administrative liability.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the decision was reached after giving due consideration to the administrative complaints filed against him.

The decision was reached after giving Carandang the appropriate opportunity to respond to the charges made against him, Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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