Thursday July 19, 2018

Duterte mulls filing of impeach raps vs Morales, Sereno

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte intends to file impeachment complaints against Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Duterte announced his plan Wednesday during an interview with Palace reporters after his meeting with the parents of hazing victim Horacio Castillo III at the Malacañang Palace.

Speaking to reporters, the President claimed he was forced to make a move against Sereno and Morales because they were the one who "started the ruckus" as they allowed themselves to be used by his political rivals in a "concerted effort" to taint his reputation.

"They started it. I did not start this ruckus," Duterte said. "In fairness also to the ladies, actually, [they're] just part of a concerted effort."

Sereno is already facing an impeachment complaint before the House of Representatives filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.

Morales, on the other hand, was threatened by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption to file a similar case against her.

Duterte said he would file an impeachment case against Morales on the grounds of "selective justice and the use of falsified documents."

He earlier alluded that Morales was merely favoring her allies from the "yellow" party, a political color associated with opposition Liberal Party.

He also repeatedly claimed that the Office of the Ombudsman had "illegally obtained" documents of his alleged bank records amid the investigation of his supposed ill-gotten wealth.

"We will file an impeachment case against her (Morales). And I would tend to believe that she’s part of the conspiracy," the President said.

"You have an official – the Ombudsman – who is part of fabrication and the use of falsified documents," he added.

For the first time, Duterte apparently admitted that Sereno was the government official he previously accused of enjoying a "lavish lifestyle."

Duterte denied in August that he was pertaining to Sereno when he revealed that a public official not belonging to executive branch was using the taxpayer's money to stay in opulent hotels and airplane cabins.

But in his latest remark, the President slammed Sereno for claiming to be living a "simple life" even though she has apparently been spending the public funds for a "luxurious" car.

In the impeachment complaint filed by Gadon, Sereno was accused of committing corruption when she used public funds "to finance her extravagant and lavish lifestyle" by procuring a brand-new Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model amounting to P5.1 million.

"She (Sereno) said it's a simple life [and yet, she bought a] Land Cruiser. Who are you?... You bought a Land Cruiser, that's luxury. That's not your money; that's taxpayers' money," Duterte said.

"Your problem Sereno is, you are the one who would define yourself and the things that you want in this life. It’s simple for you but you make the government bleed… You define a luxury car as 'I live simply.' And when you’re abroad, you stay in suites," he added.

Asked if he was also considering filing an impeachment case against Sereno, Duterte said, "Yes, because that is punishable under [Republic Act] 3019, and that is Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law." (SunStar Philippines)