House Speaker: Duterte's call to impeach Ombudsman won't affect proceedings

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House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 11) — The House Speaker said President Rodrigo Duterte's call to impeach the Ombudsman will not affect impeachment processes in the lower Chamber.

"In the first place, I do not work for the President. I work for the Republic of the Philippines," Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Wednesday.

Impeachment cases are underway for Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the President confirmed on Oct. 4. He accused both of corruption and being used by those who want to oust him.

But the House Speaker claimed to take Duterte's words as is.

"As a separate body, parang ordinaryong mamamayan nagsabing magpa-file ako ng impeachment complaint sa Kongreso," he said.

[Translation: As a separate body, it's just like an ordinary citizen saying he will file an impeachment complaint in Congress.]

However, Alvarez claimed some congressmen sought his permission to endorse an impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

A group of complainants earlier said they will lodge a complaint against Morales this week, insisting she must be impeached for practicing selective justice.

Some families of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who died in the bloody Mamasapano encounter in 2015 also want Morales ousted. They said Morales downgraded the case when she cleared Aquino of homicide charges.

READ: Some families of SAF44 to file impeachment raps vs. Ombudsman

The House Speaker also cried foul over claims from the opposition that the lower Chamber uses the impeachment process to stifle dissent.

"That is the most unfair statement kasi unang-una, it is a constitutional process. If it is a constitutional process, 'yung proseso natin sang-ayon sa ating Saligang Batas, legal 'yan. Ngayon, 'yung sinasabi naman na ginagamit laban sa oposisyon, hindi naman ata tama yun kasi hindi magpo-prosper 'yan kung walang valid grounds," Alvarez said.

[Translation: That is the most unfair statement since first off, it is a constitutional process. If it is a constitutional process, our process is in line with the Constitution. But if you say the process is used against the opposition, that wouldn't be right because the complaint won't prosper without valid grounds.]

Duterte's relationship with Morales has been strained since July, when the Ombudsman told Japan's NHK World it is "not acceptable" for the President to threaten criminals.

Morales previously said it will also inhibit from cases involving the President, but her office turned around after an Ombudsman official said it will start its probe into the first family's wealth.

The investigation was in response to a plunder complaint filed by a fierce Duterte critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, during the 2016 polls.

CNN Philippines' Chad de Guzman contributed to this report.