Exclusive: Ombudsman investigating Wanda Teo, other fired officials

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11) — Former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo is under investigation at the Office of the Ombudsman – along with other fired or resigned government officials accused of corruption.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines' The Source, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said her office had begun motu proprio investigations on Teo and other personalities she declined to name.

"I will again get the ire of some people," she said. "[There are] some others. I'm not going to reveal them now. But in the case of Teo, it was so publicly ventilated."

Teo resigned in May in the wake of a controversial ₱60 million advertising deal between the Tourism Department and a television program run by her brothers, Ben and Erwin Tulfo.

The Office of the Ombudsman previously said it was looking into the case, but did not name Teo specifically.

After her, former Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say also resigned after he was linked to irregular activity. Malacanang said more officials would be fired.

The investigations are included in some 6,000 cases that the Office of the Ombudsman are working. The number is down from a backlog of 19,000 cases Morales inherited in 2011.

Morales said it was unlikely that her office could complete the build-up of cases in the pork barrel fund scam before she retired on July 26.

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The Ombudsman also said a complaint against Solicitor General Jose Calida was still in the fact-finding stage.

"The case is pending… I don't like to preempt the result," Morales said.

Calida is under scrutiny for multi-million deals between his private security firm and various government agencies which, he insisted, were all above board.

Morales declined to provide more information, saying the country's top lawyer previously "wanted to implicate [her]" when he accused Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang of a breach of confidentiality.

Carandang was tasked to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte's alleged hidden wealth. He announced last year that he received a report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) showing Duterte's bank records amounted to over ₱1 billion, but the agency denied this.

"Whatever I say now, [Calida] might say I'm taking revenge," said Morales. "He might say... I am trying to hit him back because he hit me."

She also quipped, "I have clippings of all the statements made against me by him."

When asked what she would do with the clippings, she laughed and said, "I have no immediate plans anyway."

The probe against Duterte had since been terminated, but his son and resigned Davao City vice mayor, Paolo, still faces investigation for graft and other crimes in the Ombudsman's office.

Morales had inhibited herself from all cases involving the first family, as her nephew Mans Carpio is married to Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

The Ombudsman said fighting corruption should still be the government's top concern and urged the public to remain vigilant.

"Let's help this administration eradicate corruption," she said. "If you are cowed by fear and refuse to talk about irregularity or wrongdoing by any public official in conspiracy with a private official, you will get what you deserve."

Programming note: The Source interview with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales airs today at 9:00 a.m., with replays at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.