No competition with DoJ, says Ombudsman

Published October 30, 2020, 3:16 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

There is no competition between the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice in investigating erring government officials, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said Friday.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires (MANILA BULLETIN)

Martires welcomed the task force created by President Duterte to investigate the massive corruption in the bureaucracy and described DoJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra who heads the panel as an intelligent and decent public servant.

“The DoJ has been a long-standing partner of the Office in its drive against corruption,” he said, adding that the DoJ and the National Bureau of Investigation helped their office resolve the Priority Development Assistance Fund or “pork barrel” fund scam cases.

The DoJ had filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against top officials of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. which supported the Ombudsman’s independent probe and resulted in the preventive suspension of eight officials of the State health insurance agency.

The Ombudsman and the DoJ are members of the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council – a multi-agency partnership established in 1999 as a voluntary alliance of government agencies that would develop techniques and strategies in the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of graft cases.

“Given this partnership, there is absolutely no basis to detract or underestimate the laudable objectives of the President in creating the DoJ mega task force,” stressed Martires. “In any case, investigations conducted by the DoJ involving complaints of corruption are subject to the evaluation of the Ombudsman.”

Martires assured the public that they will continue conducting in-depth investigations on alleged anomalies in the government even as they are dealing with limited manpower and the ongoing reorganization of bureaus undertaking investigative functions.

The Ombudsman investigates reports of corruption and files the necessary charges against government officials before the Sandiganbayan.

The creation of the task force has reportedly undermined the Office of the Ombudsman.