- Palace explained president’s call for Ombudsman and SC chief magistrate to resign
- Presidential spokesman said Duterte believes political foes using both officials for ouster plot
- He also said president’s refusal to submit to Ombudsman’s probe a result of his suspicions
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang Palace explained President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno’s resignations; saying it was done out of belief they were being used by his political foes to remove him from the presidency.
“The President believes the Supreme Court Justice and the Ombudsman has allowed themselves to be used by certain political forces to discredit him and his administration in order to spark public outrage and eventually oust him in the presidency,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella as saying. “It’s his prerogative to make that call.”
Duterte has accused Sereno of corruption and Morales of selective justice. The chief justice meanwhile has been at loggerheads with the president over the conduct of his administration’s war on drugs, and his bank accounts are the subject of an investigation by the Ombudsman for alleged hidden wealth.
The president earlier challenged the two to resign with him and spare the public the spectacle of an impeachment trial.
“Hindi ako mamatay kapag hindi ako Presidente. Kami man ang nagpapagulo, nagpapagamit iyang dalawa eh. Eh ‘di magresign tayo. I challenge the two, we will go to Congress in a simple ceremony. We sign the letter of resignation. Sige nga, then let us open all the books, pati inyo,” he said.
[I will not die if I am not President. We are creating chaos, because the two have allowed themselves to be used. Let’s just resign then. I challenge the two, we will go to Congress in a simple ceremony. We sign the letter of resignation. Come, let us open all our books, even yours.]
With respect to the president’s refusal to submit to the Ombudsman’s probe, Abella explained that it was because he suspects the constitutional body of partiality.
“The President has basically said it that he will not submit to that. In other words, he finds their position suspect,” he said.