SC asked to clarify Morales’ tenure

FORMER Metro Rail Transit general manager Al Vitangcol III has asked the Supreme Court to order Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to stop carrying out the functions of her office.

In his petition filed on Friday, Vitangcol said the high court must declare that Morales’ term expired on Nov. 30, 2012 and compel her to stop discharging her functions as Ombudsman.

In other developments:

• Various groups have reset the filing of an impeachment complaint against Morales to the resumption of the congressional sessions in November.

Lawyer Manuelito Luna said instead of three complaints as initially planned, the groups would file only one complaint.

• The camp of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday stood firm on its decision to ignore the impeachment proceedings designed to “embarrass her” or to “undermine her dignity.”

At the Kamuning Bakery, Sereno’s lawyer Aldwin Salumbides said “definitely we will not take part in any proceedings.”

Voting 25-2, the House of Representatives’ committee on justice found sufficient grounds to hear the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.

Morales replaced Merceditas Gutierrez who resigned on May 6, 2011 as Ombudsman to avoid an impeachment trial in the Senate, leaving an unexpired term until Nov. 30, 2012.

Vitangcol said the intent of the law was for the successor of Gutierrez to serve the remainder of her term only not a full term of seven years.

“Thus, Morales is usurping her office,” Vitangcol said in a text message.

He anchored his petition on the deliberations of the committee on justice on Feb. 2, 1989, relative to House Bill 13646 that was enacted into Republic Act 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of 1989.

“Legislative intent is part and parcel of the law. It is the controlling factor in interpreting a statute. In fact, any interpretation that runs counter with the legislative intent is unacceptable and invalid,” Vitangcol’s petition says.

Vitangcol also called on the high court to declare all orders, decisions and resolutions “rendered personally” by Morales from Dec. 1, 2012 up to the present null and void.

“Affected cases should be remanded to the Deputy Ombudsman for proper disposition pending the appointment of a new Ombudsman,” the petition says.

It was Morales who approved the filing of graft charges before the Sandiganbayan against Vitangcol over his alleged attempt to extort $30 million from a Czech light rail vehicles supplier and the irregularities in the transit system’s interim maintenance contract during his stint as MRT chief. 

Vitangcol’s petition agrees with President Rodrigo Duterte’s view that Morales was supposed to serve the remaining term of her predecessor.

Duterte has also accused Morales of practicing selective justice. 

Topics: Al Vitangcol III , Supreme Court , Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales
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