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AOA Fact Sheet

Ombudsman of Philippines
APRIL 8, 2010

Legal
Framework

INSTITUTIONAL OVERVIEW NUMBER 1

The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines created the independent Office


of the Ombudsman or OMB, set up its basic structure and defined its
powers, functions and duties. It can investigate any act or omission of
any public official, if deemed illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It
can enforce administrative, civil or criminal liability in every case when
the evidence warrants in order promoting efficient service by the
government to the people. The Ombudsman has preventive, investigative
and prosecutor powers in cases of graft and corruption.
Its overriding consideration, detailed in Republic Act 3019, states, it is
the policy of the Philippine Government, in line with the principle that a
public office is a public trust, to repress certain acts of public officers and
private persons alike which constitute graft and corrupt practices or which
may lead thereto.

Jurisdiction/
Functions

The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) is mandated by law to act on all


administrative complaints relating, but not limited to acts or omissions
which are (1) contrary to law or regulation;
(2) unreasonable, unfair, oppressive or discriminatory;
(3) inconsistent with the general course of an agencys functions, though
in accordance with law;
(4) proceed from a mistake of law or an arbitrary ascertainment of facts;
(5) in the exercise of discretionary powers but for an improper purpose;
or
(6) Otherwise irregular, immoral or devoid of justification.
Likewise, the OMB investigates and prosecutes 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 Sandiganb ayan (Anti-Graft Court) and, in the
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exercise of primary jurisdiction; it may take over, at any stage, from any
investigatory agency of Government, the investigation of such cases.
The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people, 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

Legal Powers

The hallmarks of the Constitution and enabling laws further vested


upon the Ombudsman a comprehensive power by which it can ensure
effective and expeditious action on complaints.
1. Power to prosecute cases of high ranking officials with salary grade
27 (Director level) and above with the S a n d i g a n b a y a n (AntiGraft Court) and low ranking officials with salary grade 26 and
below with the regular courts;
2. Power to issue subpoena;
3. Power to punish for contempt;
4. Power to order the examination of bank accounts of person under
investigation;
5. Power to gather evidence for case build-up;
6. Power to administratively discipline all elective and appointive
officials except impeachable officials, members of Congress and
the judiciary;
7. Power to preventively suspend any officer or employee under its
disciplinary authority pending investigation. The preventive
suspension may continue up to six (6) months without pay;
8. Power to enter into plea bargaining agreements;
9. Power to grant immunity from criminal prosecution to any vital
witness;
10. Power to promulgate its own rules and regulations.

Organizational
Structure

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 it 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 Special Prosecutor is an organic component of the
Office of the Ombudsman and is under the supervision and control of the
Ombudsman.
The position structure and staffing pattern of the Office of the
Ombudsman, including the Office of the Special Prosecutor, shall be
approved and prescribed by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman appoints
all officers and employees of the Office of the Ombudsman, including
those of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, in accordance with the Civil
Service Law, rules and regulations.

Implementation
Arrangements

All provisionary orders of the Office of the Ombudsman are immediately


effective and executor. A motion for reconsideration of any order,
directive or decision of the Office of the Ombudsman must be filed within
five (5) days after receipt of written notice and shall be entertained only
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when a new evidence has been discovered which materially affects the
order, directive or decision or errors of law or irregularities have been
committed prejudicial to the interest of the moving. The motion for
reconsideration shall be resolved within three (3) days from filing,
Provided, that only one motion for reconsideration shall be entertained.
Findings of fact by the Office of the Ombudsman when supported by
substantial evidence are conclusive. Any order, directive or decision
imposing the penalty of public censure or reprimand, suspension of not
more than one (1) months salary shall be final and un-appealable.
In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives, or decisions of
the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by
filing a petition for certiorari within ten (10) days from receipt of the
written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial of the motion
for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The
above rules may be amended or modified by the Office of the
Ombudsman as the interest of justice may require.

The Research and Special Studies of the Office of the Ombudsman focus
on the following:

Addressing
Systemic
Issues

Conduct of operations review and special studies and recommend


measures to promote efficiency, economy and effectiveness in the
delivery of public services;
Study and evaluate provisions of existing laws which are unfair or have
been proven to be embarrassing to the public service and make
appropriate recommendation for its repeal, amendments or revision; and
formulate and/or recommend the adoption of policies, rules and
regulations for the effective implementation of existing laws and for the
observance of high standards of ethics in the government.

The Office of the Ombudsman undertakes any matter, which falls under
its jurisdiction, on its own initiative or upon written or oral complaint by
any individual, partnership, corporation or entity concerned.

Investigative
Techniques

Complaints may be made in person, by mail, fax, text message or


telephone to the Public Assistance Bureau or any of the established OMB
hotlines.
If a complaint is sufficient in form and substance, the complaint will be
subjected to preliminary investigation and/or administrative adjudication.
Otherwise, the complaint will be subjected to further fact-finding
investigation. If the complaint is a mere grievance or request for
assistance, it shall be referred to the OMB public assistance offices and be
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docketed as a request for assistance or mediation.


The Field Investigation Office (FIO) is the office responsible for the factfinding investigation. A preferred form of complaint is the one done in
writing and under oath. Although the Ombudsman welcomes anonymous
complaints based on the widely-held perception that most Filipinos are
afraid to openly tell on public officials, anonymous complaints are acted
upon only if they contain sufficient leads, concrete details or interesting
particulars that can be verified. This is to guard against Filipinos engaging
in unnecessary harassment just so they can ventilate their hidden anger,
especially if they themselves are not exposed to any risk of retaliation.
The Office of the Ombudsman promulgates its rules of procedure for the
effective exercise or performance of its powers, functions, and duties;

Public
Grievances &
Redress (PGR)
Rules &
Standards

The rules of procedure include a provision whereby the Rules of Court are
made suppletory.
A criminal complaint may be brought for an offense in violation of
Republic Act No. 3019 as amended, Republic Act No. 6713, Title VII
Chapter II, Section 2 of the Revised Penal Code, and for such other
offenses committed by public officers and employees in relation to office;
The preliminary investigation of cases falling under the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan and Regional Trial Courts shall be conducted in the
manner prescribed in Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court; and
The Office of the Ombudsman issued Administrative Order No. 07 as
Amended for the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman
which shall apply to all criminal and administrative complaints,
grievances or requests for assistance and such other matters cognizable by
the Office of the Ombudsman
It also issued Administrative Order No. 20, series of 2008, the Rules of
Procedure for Mediation.

Freedom of
Information
(FOI)
Standards

The form of complaints, grievances or request for assistance may be in


any form, verbal or in writing. For a speedier disposition of the complaint,
however, it is preferable that it be in writing and under oath. A complaint
which does not disclose the identity of the complainant will be acted upon
only if it merits appropriate consideration, or contains sufficient leads or
particulars to enable taking further action. Grievances or requests for
assistance may likewise be verbal or in writing. In any case, the
requesting or complaining party must indicate his address and telephone
number, if any;

The Ombudsman acts on all complaints relating, but not limited, to acts or
omissions which are contrary to law or regulation; unreasonable, unfair,
oppressive or discriminatory; inconsistent with the general course of an
agency's functions, though in accordance with law; proceed from a
mistake of law or an arbitrary ascertainment of facts in the exercise of
discretionary powers but for an improper purpose; or are otherwise
irregular, immoral or devoid of justification.

Use of
Technology

The Office of the Ombudsman has an interactive website:


http://www.ombudsman.gov.ph. It is user-friendly and informative. The
public can file their complaints, request for assistance and applications for
ombudsman clearance via e-mail.
OMB is now in the process of installing its interconnectivity. With its
Intra-networking between the central and Area-Sectoral Offices access to
information is easy. Cases can be easily monitored.
The OMB Central office has oversight of all area-sectoral offices and
manages email accounts for all OMB offices and all users. All Intranetwork have secure dedicated lines.

Public
Awareness &
Outreach

The Office of the Ombudsman publishes its annual report and OMB
Journal. It is posted in its website and hardcopies are also distributed to
its stakeholders. The annual report is submitted to the Office of the
President and to Congress.
The Graft and Corruption Prevention Education Teaching Exemplars is a
set of teaching guides for all elementary and secondary teachers in public
schools nationwide. Designed to instill honesty, integrity and public
service among elementary and high school students. These teaching
exemplars are now integrated in the curricula of both primary and
secondary public schools.
It conducts regular seminars on public accountability.
These public
accountability seminars are regularly given to barangay officials to
apprise them of their duties under the Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713), as
well as to educate them on other anti-corruption laws.
It also has its regular road shows, weekly radio programs, and opinion
column in the Business Mirror.
It has a Social Service Caravan that serves as the arm of the Office in
fulfilling its public assistance mandate by attending immediately to the
grievances and concerns of the people in relation to concerned
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government agencies, as well as attending to the medical and dental needs


of those who have less in life. The OMB Social Service Caravan serves
as a one-stop shop of different social services made available to poverty
stricken and marginalized barangays and its member- households
throughout the country. The Ombudsman conceptualized the project to
bring the government closer to the people.

Linkages with
Civil Society

While their exist many anti-corruption initiatives, these are perceived as


too diffused to create any impact. Hence, a different strategy was needed.
The idea of convergence was crystallized when the country committed to
ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
during the South East Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption
(SEAPAC) Meeting in April 2005. The National Anti-Corruption
Program of Action (NACPA) was born on 17 March 2006 amid the
signing of the Convergence Covenant by stakeholders from the three
branches of government, Constitutional Commissions, business and civil
society, academe and development partners. Through the convergence
process, corruption will be reduced to the extent that will enable Filipinos
to fully enjoy the blessings of independence and democracy as proclaimed
in our Constitutions preamble.
On the other hand, the Multi-Sectoral Anti-Corruption Council (MSACC)
serves as the advisory and consultative body of the NACPA. It is
composed of members from different sectors like: Supreme Court,
Congress, Constitutional Bodies, government, professional, youth,
business sector, academe, mass media, faith-based organizations, and
international development partners. The MSACC will synchronize the
projects under NACPA. They adhere to the principle of shared
responsibility of government and non-government sectors in maintaining
honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability and rule of law in the
society. They recognize the utmost importance of harmonizing the efforts
of all sectors of the society in pursuing positive and effective measures
against graft and corruption. They recognize the vital role of the civil
society that includes all non-governmental organizations in promoting
good governance and combating graft and corruption.

Parallel
Complaint
Redress
Systems

Civil Service
Commission

The Civil Service Commission was constitutionally


mandated to promote morale, efficiency, integrity,
responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy in the
Civil Service.

Commission on
Audit

The Commission on Audit (COA) is the Philippines'


Supreme Audit Institution. The Philippine
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Constitution declares its independence as a


constitutional office, grants it powers to audit all
accounts pertaining to all government revenues and
expenditures/uses of government resources and to
prescribe accounting and auditing rules, gives it
exclusive authority to define the scope and
techniques for its audits, and prohibits the legislation
of any law which would limit its audit coverage.

National Bureau
of Investigation
(NBI)

Some of the major functions of the NBI under the


Department of Justice is to undertake investigations
of crimes and other offenses against the laws of the
Philippines, including anti graft laws upon its own
initiative and as public interest may require. It also
renders assistance, whenever properly requested in
the investigation or detection of crimes and other
offenses.

Department of
Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) serves as the


governments prosecution arm and administers the
governments
criminal
justice
system
by
investigating crimes, prosecuting offenders and
overseeing the correctional system. The DOJ,
through its attached offices, is also the governments
legal counsel and representative in litigations and
proceedings requiring the services of a lawyer;
implements the Philippines laws on the admission
and stay of aliens within its territory; provides free
legal services to indigent Filipinos; and settles land
disputes between and among small landowners and
indigenous cultural minorities.

Anti-Money
Laundering
Council
(AMLC)

The Mission of AMLC is to protect and preserve the


integrity and confidentiality of bank accounts; to
ensure that the Philippines shall not be used as a
money laundering site for proceeds of any unlawful
activity and to extend cooperation in transnational
investigation and prosecution of persons involved in
money laundering activities wherever committed.

Presidential
Anti-Graft
Commission
(PAGC)

PAGC was created to address the need for a


Commission under the Office of the President that
will conduct the task of investigating and hearing
administrative cases and complaints against erring
Presidential Appointees and at the same time assist
the President in the campaign against graft and
corruption.