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The Duties of the Ombudsman
THE OMBUDSMAN AND HIS DEPUTIES, as protectors of the people shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against officers or employees of the Government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and enforce their administrative, civil and criminal liability in every case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient service by the Government to the people (Section 13, R.A. No. 6770; see also Section 12 Article XI of the 1987 Constitution).
The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filed against high ranking government officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions, complaints involving grave offenses as well as complaints involving large sums of money and/or properties (Sec. 15, R.A. No. 6770).
As protectors of the people, we shall endeavor, in cooperation with all sectors of the Filipino society, to promote integrity and efficiency and high ethical standards in public service through proactive approaches in graft prevention and public assistance, prompt investigation of complaints and aggressive prosecution of cases filed against erring public officials and employees.
A truly independent office run by God-fearing men and women with the highest degree of competence, honesty and integrity and effectively serving as watchdog, mobilizer, official critic and dispenser of justice for the people it is constitutionally mandated to protect.
Powers, Functions and Duties
The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and duties
Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of his primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of Government, the investigation of such cases (Sec. 15(1) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec. 13(1), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any officer or employee of the Government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as any government-owned or controlled corporations with original charter, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties (Sec. 15(2) R.A. No. 6770; Sec 13(2) Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public officer or employee at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith; or enforce its disciplinary authority as provided in Section 21 or this Act: Provided, That the refusal by any officer without just cause to comply with an order of the Ombudsman to remove, suspend, demote, fine, censure, or prosecute an officer or employee who is at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law shall be ground for disciplinary action against said officer (Sec. 15(3) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(3), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such limitations as it may provide in its rules of procedure, to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the disbursement or use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity to the Commission on Audit for appropriate action (Sec. 15(4) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec. 13(4), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents (Sec. 15(5), R.A. No.6770; see also Sec. 13(5), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
Publicize matters covered by its investigation of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) hereof, when circumstances so warrant and with due determine what cases may not be made public: Provided further, That any publicity issued by the Ombudsman shall be balanced, fair, and true (Sec 15(6) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(6), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the Government and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency (Sec 15(7) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(7), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
Administer oaths, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, and take testimony in any investigation or inquiry, including the power to examine and have access to bank accounts and records (Sec 15(8), R.A. No. 6770);
Punish for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court and under the same procedure and with the same penalties provided therein (Sec 15(9), R.A. No. 6770);
Delegate to the Deputies, or its investigators or representatives such authority or duty as shall ensure the effective exercise of performance of the powers, functions, and duties herein or hereinafter provided (Sec 15(10), R.A. No. 6770);
Investigate and initiate the proper action for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or unexplained wealth amassed after February 25, 1986 and the prosecution of the parties involved therein (Sec 15(11), R.A. No. 6770);
Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law (Sec 13(7), Article XI, 1987 Constitution; see also Sec. 18, R.A. No. 6770).
Organizational Structure and Functions:
Republic Act 6770 provides for the functional and structural organization of the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has the authority to develop the rest of the organizational structure. The authority and responsibility for the exercise of the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman and for the discharge of its powers and functions is vested in the Ombudsman, who has supervision and control of the office. It has the authority to organize directorates for administration and allied services as may be necessary for the effective discharge of its functions.
The Office of the Overall Deputy Ombudsman oversees and administers the operation of the different offices under the office of the Ombudsman. It performs other functions and duties assigned by the Ombudsman.
The Office of the Ombudsman has its Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) which acts as the legal arm of the Office. Its major functions include the following: acts on appeals or petitions for review on decisions, resolutions or final orders issued by the area and sectoral offices of the OMB in administrative disciplinary and criminal cases; represents the Office in, or in coordination with, the Office of the Solicitor General in appeals and/or original petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus filed before the Court of Appeals, Supreme Court or any other court involving the decisions, resolutions or orders of the Office in administrative disciplinary cases and in original special civil actions, except those falling within the jurisdiction of the OSP, relating to criminal cases resolved or disposed of by the OMB; and represents the Office in any other case before the courts and quasi-judicial bodies where the interests of the Office are involved.
The Project Management Office (PMO) was created pursuant to OMB Resolution No. 07, series of 2004. The Resolution explained fully the need for the appropriate management strategies and mechanisms to be put in place for the proper synchronization of the various reform projects and activities and to establish an organizational set-up that will manage and coordinate these projects. The PMO is given the overall responsibility of managing and coordinating all donor-assisted projects and activities.
The OMB utilizes its three functional offices in the aspect of investigation and prosecution, namely: the Field Investigation Office (FIO); the Preliminary Investigation, Administrative Adjudication and Monitoring Office (PAMO); and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP).
Graft prevention activities are being carried out mainly by the Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office (PACPO) through the Community Coordination Bureau (CCB), the Public Assistance Bureau (PAB) and the Bureau of Resident Ombudsman (BRO), with focus on the following areas of concern: public assistance, community mobilization, conduct of seminars, dialogues and workshops, undertaking of educational and motivational programs on graft and corruption prevention, integrity development review, training of IDR assessors in partnership with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), training on procurement (R.A. 9184), and facilitating focused group discussions on anticorruption reform programs with collaborating government agencies and stakeholders from the civil society, NGOs, church organizations, academe and business community.
How is preliminary investigation conducted in the Office of the Ombudsman?
Preliminary investigation of Ombudsman cases falling under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and Regional Trial Courts shall be conducted in the manner prescribed in the Rules of Court, Rule 112, Section 3, subject to the following provisions:
If the complaint is not under oath or is based only on official reports, the investigating officer shall require the complainant or supporting witnesses to execute affidavits to substantiate the complaint.
After such affidavits have been secured, the investigating officer shall issue an order, attaching thereto a copy of the affidavits and other supporting documents, directing the respondents to submit, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, their counter-affidavits and controverting evidence with proof of service thereof on the complainant. The complainant may file reply affidavits within ten (10) days after service of the counter-affidavits.
If the respondents do not file counter-affidavits, the investigating officer may consider the comment filed by them, if any, as their answer to the complaint. In any event, the respondent shall have access to the evidence on record.
No motion to dismiss shall be allowed except for lack of jurisdiction. Neither may a motion for a bill of particulars be entertained. If respondents desire any matter in the complainant’s affidavit to be clarified, the particularization thereof may be done at the time of clarificatory questioning in the manner provided in paragraph (f) hereof.
If the respondents cannot be served with the order mentioned in paragraph b hereof, or having been served, does not comply therewith, the complaint shall be deemed submitted for resolution on the basis of the evidence on record.
If, after the filing of the requisite affidavits and their supporting evidences, there are facts material to the case which the investigating officer may need to be clarified on, he may conduct a clarificatory hearing during which the parties shall be afforded the opportunity to be present but without the right to examine or cross-examine the witness being questioned. Where the appearance of the parties or witnesses is impracticable, the clarificatory questioning may be conducted in writing, whereby the questions desired to be asked by the investigating officer or a party shall be reduced into writing and served on the witness who shall be required to answer the same in writing and served on the witness concerned who shall be required to answer the same in writing and under oath.
Upon the termination of the preliminary investigation, the investigating officer shall forward the records of the case together with his resolution to the designated authorities for their appropriate action thereon.
No information may be filed and no complaint may be dismissed without the written authority or approval of the Ombudsman in cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, or the proper Deputy Ombudsman.