SC junks disbarment case vs. Ombudsman Morales

  • The SC has dismissed the disbarment case against Ombudsman Morales
  • The court junked the complaint for lack of merit
  • It took only four days for the High Court to reach a decision, which is unanimous

MANILA, Philippines – It took no more than four days for the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the disbarment case against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed earlier by losing senatorial bet Greco Belgica.

The SC argued in its decision released on Tuesday, March 28, that an Ombudsman cannot be charged with disbarment while still in office.

An Ombudsman, being an impeachable officer, can only be removed by impeachment as stated in the 1987 Constitution, said the High Court.

“A public officer who, under the Constitution is required to be a member of the Bar as a qualification for the office held by him/her and who may be removed from office only by impeachment, cannot be charged with disbarment during the incumbency of the public officer,” said the court decision.

Belgica has accused Morales of violating the Lawyer’s Oath and Code of Professional Responsibility for acquitting former president Benigni ‘PNoy’ Aquino III in the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) for which the latter faced technical malversation, usurpation of legislative powers, and graft charges.

“In absolving the president (Aquino) 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 were deprived of their right to procedural due process,” Belgica’s charge sheet read.

The disbarment raps was filed by Belgica on Friday, March 24. The SC, on Tuesday, voted unanimously in dismissing the complaint for lack of merit.