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Palace: Morales can’t expel Garcia

The Office of the Ombudsman cannot simply dismiss Deputy House Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia, a Malacañang official stressed yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, in a statement, agreed with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s defiance on Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ decision on Garcia’s dismissal.
Garcia was ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman over an unauthorized P24.47-million transaction on a Balili property in Cebu when she was governor of the province in 2012.
“While we respect the findings of the Ombudsman based on the merits of the case, only Congress may suspend or remove its members based on the former’s anti-graft and corruption rulings,” Roque said.
“(Morales) cannot arrogate this power of Congress,” he added.
Roque, a former congressman himself, said members of the

House of Representatives should decide among themselves first whether Garcia should be stripped of her legislative post.

“Only the House of Representatives, convened in plenary and by a two-thirds vote, can expel Deputy Speaker Garcia from its rolls,” he said.
At a press conference in Tabuk, Kalinga, Roque said he considers Garcia as his “best friend forever” and could not be impartial in reacting to the issue.
However, he said that the Constitution was clear that only the Congress could expel its members.
“Gwen Garcia and I are very close. So I cannot be impartial as to Congresswoman Gwen Garcia, I consider her as my best friend forever I stand with the Constitution that only Congress can discipline its members,” Roque said.
He also noted that both chambers of the Congress have the same view regarding the expulsion of its members.
“Congress, either House or Senate, has taken the same view that under the Constitution the Ombudsman cannot order House or Congress to do as it wishes,” Roque said.
He further said that the Ombudsman is free to go to the Supreme Court and will not be prevented.
Garcia earlier had slammed the Ombudsman’s order, saying it could have stemmed from her active participation in the impeachment proceedings against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who, like Morales, is an appointee of then President Aquino.
Both Sereno and Morales have been accused by President Duterte of practicing “selective justice” by ruling softly on Aquino allies while being aggressive against the critics of the past administration.
“Considering that I have been vigorously and actively involved in the dispatch of impeachment complaints such as the one against Chief Justice Sereno, it is no surprise that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who now faces an impeachment complaint, would want to have the impeachment complaint by strong-arming key members of Congress such as myself,” Garcia said in a statement.
“My dismissal order from service at her hands makes her motivation far too obvious,” she added.
Speaker Alvarez, in an interview last Monday, also pointed out that the Ombudsman cannot simply direct the House to act upon its rulings.
“My appropriate action is not to implement the order. Why? Because there is nothing in the Constitution that allows me to do that,” Alvarez said. With PNA

1 comment

  • THE EYE

    What is Ombudsman Morales's IQ? It must be high to have that position. Or, she is just a puppet and playing an idiot.

    THE EYE Wednesday, 14 February 2018 05:25 Comment Link

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