“THE BRILLIANCE OF THE PRESIDENT”, La Salle professor on Duterte’s suspension order of Deputy Ombudsman

While critics crucified President Duterte on social media following his suspension order of Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang, this La Salle professor thinks otherwise.

Trillanes said Carandang’s suspension is typical “Duterte tactic” meant to bully democratic institutions into submission.

“Clearly, this is another Duterte tactic that’s meant to bully democratic institutions into submission so he could go on with his dictatorial and corrupt ways.”

However, La Salle professor Antonio Contreras disagrees with Sen. Trillanes and even hailed Duterte’s suspension order of the Deputy Ombudsman a “brilliant move and very well-thought out”.

On Facebook, Contreras writes:

THE BRILLIANCE OF THE PRESIDENT

Many things are being said on the suspension order issued by the President to Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.

People are accusing the President of committing an unconstitutional act. Defenders of Carandang and critics of the President are saying so.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has said it so.

But unfortunately, it is not in her province to interpret the Constitution with finality.

Only the Supreme Court. And while it ruled in G.R. 196231 on a slim 8-7 vote that the President has no disciplinary powers over fhe Deputy Ombudsman, nothing prevents it from revisiting the issue when a controversy arises.

If Carpio-Morales defies the order, she will now also be guilty of usurping the power of the Court. She has no choice but to seek a ruling from the Court.

If she remains recalcitrant, she can be accused of committing an impeachable offense.

On the Court’s side.

The 7 Justices who voted in favor of the President’s power to discipline the Ombudsman include CJ Sereno and J Leonen. J. Reyes who also dissented has retired (another Reyes now sits). The othef four are JJ Carpio, Perlas-Bernabe, Peralta and Del Castillo.

Sereno and Leonen, who have on record voted against President Duterte more often than sided with him, can always change their votes. But the onus of partisanship will certainly weigh heavily on them, more so if the same arguments will be raised by the Solicitor General.

They will be unmasked, so to speak. How can they justify arguing that the President has disciplinary powers over the Deputy Ombudsman when it was Aquino, but would contradict that and say he has none now that it is Duterte?

What are then the chances of a reversal.

There are 4 remaining Justices in the majority and 6 in the minority.

There are 5 new members who were not part of the Court that decided G.R. 196231. These are JJ Jardeleza, Caguioa, Tijam, Martirez and Reyes.

If Sereno and Leonen dont flip, the President only needs 2 votes out of the 5.

If they do flip, then the President would have a tougher time. He needs 4 votes from the new Justices and plus some from those 4 in the remaining majority.

We have to consider that 3 out of the 5 new members are his appointees.

Finally, should this play out against the President’s favor or that an SC decision gets delayed, Carpio-Morales is retiring soon. Her replacement can then be the one who will suspend Carandang.

Indeed, brilliant moves. Pinag-isipan.

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