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Carandang accountable only to the Ombudsman not Duterte — Lagman

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Albay first-district Rep. Edcel Lagman described the suspension of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang by the Office of the President as a “legal aberration” that must be stricken down on the spot.

He said Carandang, as a deputy of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, was accountable to her and not the president.

Borrowing the language of the Supreme Court in several decisions of similar import, Lagman said Carandang’s suspension is like “lawless thing that can be treated as an outlaw and slain on sight or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.”

The leader of the Magnificent 7 opposition bloc said Carandang’s suspension for supposedly illegally disclosing information on the bank accounts of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family was legally untenable.

“No less than Sec. 5 of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution mandates the creation of ‘the independent Office of the Ombudsman, composed of the Ombudsman to be known as Tanodbayan, one overall Deputy and at least one Deputy each for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. A separate Deputy for the military establishment may likewise be appointed’,” Lagman said.

He added, “The Supreme Court also pronounced that “[w]hat is true for the Ombudsman must be equally and necessarily true for her Deputies who act as agents of the Ombudsman in the performance of their duties.”

“As the Ombudsman’s agents, her deputies are accountable to her, not to the President,” Lagman said.