By: Roy Bersales
DESPITE the fact that Rodrigo Roa Duterte has immunity from being charged before the court because he is the sitting President of the country, it does not automatically mean that he is immune from being investigated.
The truth of the matter is that the Office of the Ombudsman is actually pursuing the probe on the corruption complaint of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV against Duterte.
Trillanes filed corruption charges against Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman when the latter was still mayor of Davao City.
In his complaint, the senator accused Duterte of maintaining ghost employees, an act that violates anti-graft and corruption practices.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the probe on Duterte will pursue despite he is already the President of the country because the charges were filed when he was not yet the President of the country.
Once proven guilty, Duterte would end up in the detention cell, Morales said.
Rather, the decision could be used as a basis for Duterte’s impeachment.
The President of the country could only be booted out from his position through impeachment.
Morales explained that “Under the law, even if a person has immunity, or even if he is impeachable, you still continue the investigation for purposes whether there is misconduct which can be a basis of impeachment—if it amounts to the grounds for impeachment under the constitution.”
Morales has inhibited herself from the case to prevent any controversy since she is aunt-in-law of Duterte’s daughter Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte Carpio.
As of this time, it is difficult to launch an impeachment move against Duterte since the majority of the members of the Congress strongly support the President.
The only President who had undergone an impeachment proceedings was Joseph Ejercito Estrada due to massive graft and corruption charges.
Estrada was booted out from Malacanang in January 2001, less than three years after he assumed the Presidency on June 30,1998.
Later on, Estrada was found guilty of plunder by the Sandiganbayan.
He was given a presidential pardon by then Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.