PEOPLE have been curious about how Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales would deal with President Duterte as a government official who inevitably would face charges in her office and on whose conduct she would be asked to comment publicly.
There are two complaints filed against Duterte so far: one, in relation to extrajudicial killings and the other, his alleged illegal wealth. Carpio-Morales said she’d inhibit from those cases.
And she has been asked to comment on Duterte’s utterances about killings, specifically in threatening to kill people and prodding others to kill drug traffickers and others who “endanger (his) country.”
In December 2016, she said it’s not illegal to say “I will kill you.” Maybe because Duterte’s threats are later explained as hyperbole on the public stage, meant to entertain people as well as re-enforce his image of being a tough president. Carpio-Morales said, “whether he makes good the threat, that’s another matter.”
However, after a year of merely issuing platitudes on the “need for leaders who strengthen public institutions, who serve as moral compass and beacon of righteous public service,” she has become more direct and specific.
Last July 13, in an interview with the Japanese TV network NHK, Carpio-Morales deplored that Duterte is “goading people to kill people.” A problem, she said, “the directive to kill under any situation, irrespective to context is not acceptable.”
When Duterte later asked her if there’s a law against it, Carpio-Morales said there’s none, as she had commented last year. Not under circumstances that Duterte make those threats: generalized, not against a specific person, at times qualified with the proviso “kill if they resist” (sometimes with the quip tacked on, “if they don’t, make them resist.”)
He can’t be liable for that kind of talk but the ombudsman, must refer to something else.
Impact of cheering
It’s the impact on police and others he address the message to, Carpio-Morales noted. Our leaders instigate the cheering, the applause to the use of violence, whatever the reason for it: “sheer ignorance, callous conscience, blind loyalty or gorgonic fanaticism.” (“Gorgonic” fascinates Carpio-Morales than “gorgonian,” to describe something ugly and terrifying.)
Conchita’s brother is Lucas Carpio Jr. who’s married to Court of Appeals Associate Justice Agnes Reyes-Carpio whose son Manases “Mans” Carpio is married to Duterte’s daughter Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio.
The ombudsman and the president are in a sense family. Don’t expect their conversation, even though they disagree with each other, to be spiced with obscenity.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on July 20, 2017.
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