Liberal Party and other lawmakers aligned with the opposition have rallied behind Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat of filing an impeachment complaint against her.
In House Resolution 1395, the 21 LP members who signed the resolution vowed to “preserve and protect the constitutional independence and integrity” of the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Liberal lawmakers were Reps. Francis Gerald Abaya of Cavite; Benjie Agarao of Laguna; Vicente Alcala of Quezon; Isagani Amatong of Zamboanga del Norte; Kaka Bag-ao of Dinagat Island; Bolet Banal of Quezon City; Kit Belmonte of Quezon City; Emmanuel Billones of Capiz; Gabriel Bordado of Camarines Sur; Raul Daza of Northern Samar; Raul del Mar of Cebu City;
Cheryl Deloso-Montalla of Zambales; Christopher de Venecia of Pangasinan; Edgar Erice of Caloocan; Edcel Lagman of Albay; Jocelyn Limkaichong of Negros Oriental; Miro Quimbo of Marikina; Josephine Ramirez-Sato of Occidental Mindoro; Rene Relampagos of Bohol; Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas; and Edgar Mary Sarmiento of Samar.
Other non-LP signatories included Reps. Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba of Bukidnon, Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan, Rep. Strike Revilla of Cavite, Lawrence Fortun of Agusan del Norte, and Rav Rocamora of Siquijor.
The lawmakers noted in the resolution that the Ombudsman is an independent body as mandated under the 1987 Constitution “to serve as protectors of the people against inept, abusive, and corrupt in government.”
“The Office of the Ombudsman was created under 1987 Constitution to act as an independent body to serve as protectors of the people against inept, abusive and corrupt in government, with the power to ‘investigate on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient,” the resolution said.
“The framers of the Constitution intended that these independent bodies be insulated from political pressure to the extent that the absence of independence would result in the impairment of their core functions to shield it from the pressures and influence of officialdom and partisan politics and from fear of external reprisal,” the resolution stated.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption earlier promised to file an impeachment case against Morales, but has yet to do so at the House of Representatives.
Similarly, lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Jacinto Paras are also bent on filing an ouster complaint against the Ombudsman but are still finalizing it.
Topacio and Paras were the ones who filed an impeachment complaint against Commissions on Elections chairperson Andres Bautista, but it was dismissed by the House committee on justice chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali.