Possible redundancy between DoJ, OMB in corruption probe noted

Published October 29, 2020, 1:20 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Is there a looming clash between the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman regarding President Duterte’s recent directive to the DoJ  to investigate all allegations of corruption in government?

Deputy Minority Leader Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate posed this question Thursday as he noted possible redundancy of duties when it comes to the Chief Executive’s order to the Justice department.

Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna Party list Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate
(Bayan Muna Party list Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“There is supposedly the Office of the Ombudsman to go after corrupt government officials. Why create another body under the Executive?” asked Zarate, who is also a lawyer.

“Now what happens when the Ombudsman and the DoJ reach the opposite findings on their investigation of the same agency?” he added.

Currently headed by Samuel Martires, the Office of the Ombudsman functions as the “prosecutor” when it comes to complaints against government officials. If a complaint or case is deemed strong enough, the Ombudsman indicts the respondent before the Sandiganbayan or the anti-graft court.

Theoretically, the DoJ-led, all-out corruption probe may follow the same path, but its results or findings could vary with those coming from the Ombudsman.

“Is Malacanang saying that the Ombudsman is useless?” Zarate asked.

Zarate belongs to the Makabayan bloc, a six-member militant faction in the House of Representatives. They are consistent critics of the administration. 

Secretary Menardo Guevarra leads the DoJ.