Only Congress can suspend its members — Roque


PRESIDENTIAL Spokesman Sec. Harry Roque today said that only Congress can suspend or remove its members, and that the Office of the Ombudsman ‘cannot arrogate this power of Congress.’

Roque made the statement in reaction to Ombudsman Conchita Morales’s decision seeking the ouster of Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia from her post.

That only Congress may suspend its members is based on Morales’ anti-graft and corruption ruling itself.

“While we respect the findings of the Ombudsman based on the merits of the case, only Congress may suspend or remove its members based on the former’s anti-graft and corruption rulings,” said Roque.

“Thus, only the House of Representatives, convened in plenary and by a two-thirds vote, can expel Deputy Speaker Garcia from its rolls,” stressed Roque.

The Ombudsman is seeking the ouster of Rep. Garcia from the House based on alleged anomalous transactions the Cebu solon had approved when she was still governor of Cebu.

Roque lamented that the Ombudsman’s decision ‘was released at a time when such actions could be given political color.

“While we leave the merits of the case to the Ombudsman, the release of the decision could have come at a more circumspect time,” said Roque, himself a former member of the House before President Duterte appointed him to replace Sec. Ernesto Abella as Presidential Spokesman.