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MANILA — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales will soon be riding in the comfort and security of a brand-new, bullet-proof vehicle costing P8.5 million.

The Office of the Ombudsman, in the annual procurement plan for 2013 posted in the anti-graft agency’s website, stated the vehicle will be used by “OMB Proper,” which is the office of Morales.

The purchase appeared to be in reaction to last year’s incident in which an M-26 hand grenade encased in a canister was found outside the house of Morales, who is a retired Supreme Court magistrate.

Sources at OMB said the purchase is still in the works with various suppliers or dealers expected to join a bidding for the purpose.

The seven-page annual procurement plan, which disclosed that the Office of the Ombudsman has a budget of P295.72 million this year, stated that the bullet-proof vehicle should have already been bought as of May 2013 but the procurement process apparently suffered delays.

Sources said the anti-graft agency’s bullet-proof vehicle for Morales would be a Toyota Land Cruiser based on a recommendation by the Presidential Security Group.

Malacañang and the Department of Budget and Management, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, approved the procurement.

The grenade found outside Morales’s house in May 2012 had a note that said “Pang densa kay CCM – nagmalakit.” The meaning of the message remains a puzzle.

The incident happened during the impeachment trial of then chief justice Renato Corona. Morales, then a Supreme Court associate justice, testified against the chief magistrate.

Morales said it was then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo who suggested that she reinforce her security even though she had dismissed such threats as part of the risks she faces as ombudsman.

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“I’m a fatalist. If it’s your time, it’s your time, so I know I’m in the embrace of God because I know I have not done anything wrong,” she said. (Philippine Star)