Ex-Manila councilor files disbarment raps vs Ombudsman Morales

MANILA — Former Manila City Councilor and defeated senatorial candidate May 2016 elections Greco Belgica on Friday filed a disbarment case against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio – Morales before the Supreme Court (SC).

In a 12-page complaint, Belgica asked the SC to disbar Morales for violation of 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 (DAP).

“By absolving the former president of criminal liability by omitting his name in the discussion relative to the finding of probable cause against former (Budget) Secretary Florencio Abad, the Filipino people was deprived of their right to procedural due process,” read the complaint.

“Hence, the Ombudsman violated her lawyer’s oath when she deprived them of their right to procedural due process, a right enshrined in our Constitution and mandated by law,” it added.

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 PHP72 billion DAP in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Only former Budget secretary Florencio Abad was found liable for usurpation of legislative powers. But other charges against Abad were dismissed.

Belgica said 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.

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

Morales is set to retire on July 25, 2018.

Belgica said 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 Arroyo.

”Being appointed by former president Benigno Aquino who actively prosecute former president Gloria Arroyo, the people perceived her as biased. Her dismissal of the complaint is concrete proof of her bias. She failed to uphold the integrity of the legal profession by not doing what justice demands,” Belgica said.

Belgica also said 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 in 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 also said in case the instant complaint is resolved earlier that July 26, 2018, the day after the term of the Ombudsman expires, with the penalty of public censure or defer the imposition of the penalty disbarment after the expiration of her term.

Asked if he wants to file an impeachment complaint against Morales, Belgica said “ako personally wala pa but there are fillers that there are people willing. I read in the papers na there are congressmen willing… so we would get in touch with them and some of our members are in touch.”PNA-northboundasia.com