Palace keeps hands off Persida’s corruption case

Published August 15, 2019, 7:23 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Argyll Geducos

Malacañang said it will not step in and will let the Ombudsman resolve the allegations of corruption made by Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) lawyers against their head Persida Acosta and forensics chief Erwin Erfe.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after PAO lawyers asked the Ombudsman to suspend Acosta and Erfe for alleged corruption.

The PAO lawyers claimed that Acosta and her allies in the financial management service are defrauding the government by doctoring purchase orders to make funds available to Acosta.

In his Thursday press briefing, Panelo said President Duterte will let the Ombudsman do its work.

“As a matter of policy the President will not interfere in the work, function, activity of any constitutional body or any branch of government. Let the law take its course,” he said.

“If there is a case in the Ombudsman, then we’ll let the Ombudsman do its work,” he added.

Panelo then said that Acosta still enjoys the trust and confidence of the President since she is not yet removed from her current post.

“Eh, palagi naman si Presidente. Hanggang walang findings of probable cause, palaging nandoon ang trust (As long as there are no findings of probable cause, the President’s trust on a certain person is still there),” he said.

“‘Pag may probable cause na ibang usapan na yun. Then there will be suspension galing sa Ombudsman. Eh, hindi naman teritoryo ni Presidente yun, eh (But if there is a probable cause then that’s another story. Then there will be a suspension coming from the Ombudsman but that’s not the President’s territory),” he added.

The Palace official then said it is up to Acosta if she would take a leave of absence while investigation is ongoing.

READ MORE: PAO lawyers seek chief’s immediate preventive suspension