Press Release
February 1, 2018


Sen. Chiz Escudero wants the Supreme Court to step in order to resolve the controversy surrounding the suspension of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang and avert a potential constitutional crisis.

Neither the government nor the Ombudsman is budging on Carandang's suspension brought about by the grave misconduct and grave dishonesty case in connection with his disclosure of banks records allegedly owned by President Duterte and some of his family members.

Escudero, however, said the government or the Ombudsman can take the case to the high tribunal in order not to exacerbate the dispute on jurisdiction and the enforcement of the suspension order.

"The Solicitor General, as the lawyer of the government, can bring the matter to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for mandamus/certiorari or the Ombudsman can bring it via an injunction/certiorari," Escudero said.

"This is the legal, peaceful and best course of action on the part of either or both the government and the Ombudsman instead of sending the police to serve and effect the suspension order given the Ombudsman's divergent interpretation of the law from that of government," the senator said.

A defiant Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said that Malacañang's order to suspend Carandang was an "impairment of the constitutionally enshrined independence of the Office of the Ombudsman."

Morales also cited a previous Supreme Court ruling where the administrative disciplinary jurisdiction of the President over deputy ombudsmen was "categorically declared unconstitutional" by the high court.

According to Malacañang, they will wait for the 10-day period given to Carandang before they act on the defiance order issued by the Ombudsman.

Escudero, however, said that the government can still challenge the prior Supreme Court ruling. "They are well within their rights as lawyers to bring it up to the Supreme Court kung may iba silang pananaw. Basically they want to challenge the earlier ruling and this is a case where they can challenge it."

Hopefully, he said, the Supreme Court can bring the issue to a close to prevent a constitutional crisis.

"The SC, as the final arbiter of all questions of law, has the power to decide between the competing interests or interpretations of the government and an independent constitutional body," the veteran lawmaker said.

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