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Ombudsman in trouble

Faces disbarment for clearing Aquino of DAP raps

A FORMER Manila City councilor filed a disbarment complaint Friday against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales before the Supreme Court.

In his complaint, Greco Belgica asked the Court to disbar Morales for violating the Lawyer’s Oath and the Canon of Professional Responsibility after she dismissed the graft and technical malversation case against former President Benigno Aquino III in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

Belgica said that by absolving Aquino of criminal liability in the DAP case while finding probable cause against former Budget secretary Florencio Abad, Morales deprived the Filipino people of their right to due process and violated her lawyer’s oath.

Belgica also said he could file an impeachment complaint against Morales when Congress resumes sessions in May.

Morales cleared Aquino and former Budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos of technical malversation, usurpation of legislative powers and graft charges for the alleged illegal implementation of P72 -billion DAP in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Only Abad was found liable for usurpation of legislative powers, but other charges against Abad were dismissed as well.

Belgica said that Aquino should also be made liable for the circular because a provision there states that it bore the approval of the President.

“She failed to perform her primary duty as a lawyer engaged in the public prosecution because she did not see to it that justice is done to the detriment of the Filipino people,” Belgica said in his complaint.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales

Aquino appointed Morales to the post of Ombudsman when she retired as Supreme Court associate justice in 2011.

Morales is retiring on July 25 next year.

The complainant said that by absolving Aquino without providing reason Morales showed bias in favor of the former president who appointed her, in contrast with the way she prosecuted former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 

Belgica also said that Morales violated Rule 6.01 of the Canon of Professional Responsibility when she allegedly failed to perform her duty “to see that justice is done.”

The complaint also alleged that Morales violated Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 of the same code on the ground that she failed to “uphold the integrity and dignity” of the legal profession by clearing Aquino of the charge of usurpation of legislative powers “without reason.”

“Taking into consideration the fact that the former president appointed her, her conduct of favoring the former president adversely reflected her fitness to practice law,” it said.

Under the Rule 7.03, a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

Belgica said that if his complaint is resolved before July 26, 2018 when Carpio’s term expires, the Court could apply the penalty of public censure or defer her disbarment until after her term expires.

Belgica said he did not want to file an impeachment complaint against Morales, but said there were feelers from people that did, including some congressmen.

Morales said she was unfazed and was ready to face the disbarment complaint.

“I have yet to know the grounds of the complaint. Anyway, everyone is at liberty to file a complaint,” she added.

“Being charged is part of the territory. I am ready to meet head-on any complaint, anytime, anywhere. Wish them luck.”

Topics: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales , Greco Belgica , Disbarment , Disbursement Acceleration Program , Benigno Aquino III
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