Thursday, March 23, 2017

WATCH: Disbarment complaint laban kay Ombudsman Morales naihain na!

MANILA, Philippines - Former Manila councilor Greco Belgica has filed before the Supreme Court a disbarment case against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for absolving former President Benigno Aquino III from his alleged role in the irregular implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Belgica alleged that Morales had violated her sworn lawyer's oath because of her "questionable" ruling that cleared Aquino from the DAP mess.

The former chief executive appointed Morales, a retired Supreme Court justice, as ombudsman in July 2011. Morales administered the oath of office to Aquino when he took over the presidency on June 30, 2010.

In an interview with reporters on Friday, Belgica said he had decided to file a case against Morales after calls for her resignation fell on deaf ears.

Belgica said that although he knew that “a disbarment case can only be filed after her term as an impeachable officer,” he was still hoping that the high court would still hear it “because of the peculiarity of the case.”

“This (DAP case) is a very special case that she (Morales) dismissed. If the court would find merit in our prayer…kung matatapos ang pag-hear ng kaso after her term, eh di i-disbar s’ya. Kung matatapos naman before mag-expire ‘yong term n’ya, eh di i-censure s’ya.”

[If the high court finishes hearing the case after her term, she could be disbarred. If the hearing is finished before her term expires, she could be censured.]

Morales willl step down from her post in July 2018 after completing her fixed seven-year term.

The former councilor said the high tribunal was “unanimous” in its decision that the DAP was “the most corrupt system [that] the government had used in a budget.”

“You know, pulling all the budget, declaring it as savings in the beginning and at the end of the year…discretionally spending it on their own, usurping the powers of Congress,” said Belgica.

The DAP was the budget reform program of the Aquino administration designed to fast-track public spending that  tapped the savings and unprogrammed funds of the government to other programs and projects.

The Supreme Court in 2014 declared certain provisions of the DAP unconstitutional, saying it violated the doctrine of separation of powers of the executive and legislative branches.

Earlier this month, a party-list group filed a motion for reconsideration asking the Office of the Ombudsman to also make Aquino "equally liable" for the supposed unlawful implementation of the DAP.

In their motion, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate argued that aside from Department of Budget and Management (DBM) former secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, Aquino should also be indicted for allegedly violating Article 239 or the Usurpation of Legislative Powers of the Revised Penal Code. 

"Hindi naman p'wedeng ang pangunahing nagpatupad ng krimen ang siya pang di napaparusahan. Magiging walang katuturan ang kasong ito," Zarate said in a statement.

[It cannot be that the primary person who implemented the crime wiould be the one who won't get punished. This case will become worthless.)

"It will only further the state of impunity  in the budget system our government," the lawmaker added.

The Bayan Muna representative said that both Aquino and Abad should likewise be indicted for technical malversation because they were the public officers in charge of the national budget and the authors of DAP, which caused the alleged illegal transfers of public funds to lawmakers.

Both Aquino and Abad were accused of technical malversation over the DAP funds but were cleared by the Ombudsman.

Also, the Ombudsman dismissed the criminal and administrative charges against Aquino and DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos.




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