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He also said the Palace would not go to court to ask the Supreme Court to "revisit" its decision in 2014 that the Office of the President had "no power of discipline over the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman".

Roque added that Carandang would be placed under a 90-day preventive suspension effective upon receipt of the order pursuant to the complaint filed by Manolito Luna and Elijio Mallari. "If he wants to go court because I understand he's saying it's unconstitutional, let him but we will not go to court because our reading is the Office of the President has the power to discipline him", Roque said.

The Duterte government's action against Carandang was described by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a fierce Duterte critic, as "impeachable" and a bullying tactic.

Solicitor General Jose Calida assured that the President has the power to impose disciplinary actions against the deputy ombudsman.

An earlier ruling in 2012 ruled for the constitutionality of the provision on an even vote of 7-7, leading to the dismissal of the consolidated petitions of then-Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III and then-Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit.

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"Neither may ODO Carandang conveniently hide under the shield of the requirement of an impeachment because the Constitution is clear, for purposes of removal from public office only applies to the ombudsman herself, and does not extend to her deputies", Panelo said.

However, Trillanes, who pounded Duterte past year on his multimillion-peso bank accounts, said that the charge against the Deputy Ombudsman was just a "Duterte tactic" to bully "democratic institutions into submission", so he could continue with his "dictatorial and corrupt ways".

In a news conference in Lanao del Sur, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace maintains that the decision to charge and suspend Carandang was regular, and that the latter may seek court relief if he wants to.

When he was still a presidential candidate Duterte was accused of unlawfully failing to disclose 211 million pesos ($4.1 million) in secret bank accounts.

Violation of 3-K of (the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) in relation to Section 2 Rule 5 of OMB Administrative Order No. 7 for divulging valuable information of confidential character acquired by his office or by him on account of his official position to unauthorized persons or releasing such information in advance for its authorized release date.

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Carandang, who was tasked to investigate the alleged bank transactions of the First Family, confirmed to the media in September 2017 that the Ombudsman had received information on the alleged bank transactions through the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). Trillanes had alleged Duterte embezzled government funds and engaged in other illegal activities during his lengthy stint as mayor of the southern city of Davao before becoming president.

Calida was referring to Section 8 (2) of RA 6770 which the SC declared unconstitutional on January 28, 2014 for violating the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.

It said the request concerned information provided to the Ombudsman by Trillanes and that it had yet to evaluate it.

Mr. Duterte initially denied the existence of the bank account at the BPI branch on Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig but later admitted that it had less than P200 million.

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