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Morales, namumulitika! Palace sides with Garcia on Ombudsman dismissal order

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by Xave Gregorio

Malacañang sided with Deputy Speaker and Cebu 3rd District Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia on the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ order to dismiss her.

Presidential Spokesperson and former Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque said Morales’ dismissal order against Garcia “could have come at a more circumspect time.”

“It is also unfortunate that the decision of the Ombudsman was released at a time when such actions could be given political color,” said Roque in a statement released Monday (February 12).

This was also Garcia’s sentiments on the dismissal order, who told reporters at the sidelines of the hearing of the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno that the timing of Morales’ order was “rather suspect.”

Roque also echoed House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in saying that the Ombudsman has no power to discipline or dismiss members of the House of Representatives.

“Only Congress may suspend or remove its members based on the former’s anti-graft and corruption rulings,” Roque said. “She (Morales) cannot arrogate this power of Congress.”

The law professor turned politiko, however, said “we respect the findings of the Ombudsman based on the merits of the case.”

Morales ordered Garcia dismissed over a P98.9 million land purchase, where half of the property was discovered to be in a mangrove area and underwater.

While Morales has asked Alvarez to implement the order, the Speaker said he will not enforce the dismissal of Garcia as it has no legal basis.