By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang insisted that the President has the power to fire deputy ombudsmen from power contrary to claims that the chief executive has no authority over such government post.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement a day after it was reported that Malacañang has dismissed Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Caradanang for graft and corruption, and betrayal of public trust.
Roque, in a radio interview, insisted that Carandang is a presidential appointee who serves at the pleasure of the president.
He said that Carandang can question the decision of Malacañang but said that the dismissal order will still be effected unless an order will be issued saying otherwise.
“Eh siya po ay libre na kuwestiyunin iyan sa Hukuman pero habang wala pang TRO, ipatutupad po iyan ng ating Ombudsman at ng ating mga kinauukulan (He is free to question it at the court but as long as there is no temporary restraining order, he will be dismissed).” he added.
“Dapat po mayroong otoridad na mapananagot ang mga Deputy Ombudsman at ang basa naman dito sa batas ay nasa hurisdiksiyon pa rin ng Presidente (There should be an authority who will hold deputy ombudsmen responsible and from how we interpret the law, they are under the jurisdiction of the President),” he continued.
According to Roque, Carandang was given enough time to prove his innocence but he never responded to the Office of the President.
He also added that firing Carandang was only right because he was listening to “rumors” and using his position to besmirch President Duterte.
“So talagang malinaw na ginamit niya iyong posisyon niya, gumagamit siya ng tsismis para sirain ang Presidente at dapat lamang na talaga na siya ay mapatawan ng karapat-dapat na parusa. Sa tingin ko, ang paninibak ay karapat-dapat na parusa (It is clear that he used his position and tried to destroy the President’s reputation by listening to rumors. It is only right that he be fired),” Roque said.
On July 30, the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed the dismissal order against Carandang.
Carandang was initially suspended due to his disclosure of President Duterte’s bank transactions reaching P1 billion without the authority of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) last year.
Medialdea’s decision slapped Carandang with accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, bar from taking civil service examinations, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
In a radio interview, Roque said that Carandang can be disbarred but that decision is with the Supreme Court and not the Office of the President.
Carandang was found liable for giving any party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
Malacañang also said Carandang violated the code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees on disclosure and/or misuse of confidential information.
“The 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,” the decision read.