THE camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay blasted Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Sunday for allegedly acting in bad faith following its recommendation to file charges against him.
“The Ombudsman clearly abused its power and exceeded its authority, and it acted in bad faith when it recommended charges against the vice president,” said Binay’s spokesman Rico Quicho.
He said the Ombudsman’s action “was intended to malign and discredit the vice president, who cannot be the subject of an indictment during his term of office.”
He said the Office of the Ombudsman itself, through Field Investigating Office Acting Director Maria Janina Hidalgo, had admitted that the vice president was immune from suit.
He quoted Hidalgo as saying that, since Binay was immune from suit, the Ombudsman would have to wait until the end of Binay’s term to file the charges.
Hidalgo also said that in case Binay won in the 2016 elections and became President, the Ombudsman would then have to file the charges after his six-year term.
“Yes, he is immune, which is why our investigation and indictment will have to wait until the end of his term,” Hidalgo said earlier.
In a motion for reconsideration filed on Oct. 19, Binay’s lawyers said the law requires that an impeachable officer must first be removed from office by impeachment before charges against him could be investigated to determine probable cause.
They said the law does not give the Ombudsman jurisdiction to investigate impeachable officers like the vice president and to issue a resolution indicting an impeachable officer.
“In proceeding with the investigation and subsequently issuing the Questioned Resolution, this Honorable Office clearly violated the Constitution and established jurisprudence on the matter. It acted without jurisdiction,” Binay’s lawyers said in their motion.
They said Binay’s right to due process was violated by the Ombudsman when it ignored the objection posed by Binay that the Ombudsman had no jurisdiction over the case as he was an impeachable official.
“It was only when the Questioned Resolution was issued that Respondent Binay was informed of this Honorable Office’s contrary position that it has jurisdiction and would therefore proceed with the investigation and render a resolution on the charges against him,” the lawyers said.
“Hence, Respondent Binay was deprived of any available remedy to question this Honorable Office’s position before the proper court.”