By: Bobi Tiglao
It was Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang who claimed that Duterte had P1 bilion "money flows" in his account.
Who is Carandang? He appears to be a devotee of the Yellow Cult, together with his cousin, Aquino’s former communication officer Ricky Carandang, who I was told lobbied for his appointment. He was assistant ombudsman when Simeon Marcelo headed the agency. Marcelo has been the second top Yellow counselor, after Mar Roxas’ campaign manager Avelino (“Nonong”) Cruz.
Carandang left the Ombudsman’s office when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Merceditas Gutierrez to the post, whom President Aquino also pushed out. He rejoined it as consultant to Carpio-Morales when she took over in 2011. Aquino in 2013 appointed him Overall Deputy Ombudsman, the highest ranking official in the agency after Carpio-Morales, leap-frogging the much-longer-serving over 24 other deputy and assistant ombudsmen.
Aquino had to vigorously defend Carandang’s appointment since he had been charged several years back with robbery and extortion, in a case that stemmed from a corruption investigation involving a finance officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippine. The case, however, was dismissed by then Quezon City Chief Prosecutor Donald Lee.
Former vice president Jejomar Binay also had claimed during the past elections that it was Carandang who headed the Ombudsman’s efforts to pin him down with hidden bank accounts and graft charges against him and his family.