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Final Impeachment Complaint vs Ombudsman

Final Impeachment Complaint vs Ombudsman

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Published by Teddy Casino
Impeachment complaint vs. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez filed by leaders of various people's organizations on Aug. 3, 2010.
Impeachment complaint vs. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez filed by leaders of various people's organizations on Aug. 3, 2010.

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Published by: Teddy Casino on Aug 27, 2010
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House of Representatives ComplexConstitution Hills, Quezon City
IN THE MATTER OF THEIMPEACHMENT OF MA.MERCEDITAS NAVARRO-GUTIERREZ AS OMBUDSMAN OFTHE PHILIPPINES,Dr. Carolina Araullo Chairpersonof BAYAN, Mo. Mary JohnMananzan of PAGBABAGO, DaniloRamos Secretary General oKilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas(KMP), Atty. Edre Olalia actingSecretary General of NationalUnion of PeoplesLawyers(NUPL), Ferdinand GaiteChairperson of COURAGE, JamesTerry Ridon Chairperson oLeague of Filipino Students (LFS)
Complainants. x---------------------------------------------------- x 
Dr. Carolina Araullo
Chairperson of BAYAN,
Mo. Mary John Mananzan
Secretary General of KMP,
Atty. Edre Olalia
actingSecretary General of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL),
Ferdinand Gaite
Chairperson of COURAGE,
 James Terry Ridon
of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), most respectfully state:
Public officials are accountable to the people, not“sometimes”, not “often” times, but at ALL times and must servethem with utmost “responsibility and efficiency”. Section 1 of Article XI of the Constitution declares so:
Section 1. Public office is a public trust.
Public officers and employeesmust at all times be accountable to the people
, serve them with utmostresponsibility, integrity, loyalty, and
; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.
 The Office of the Ombudsman was created by theConstitution precisely to ensure this.Under Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Office of theOmbudsman was created as an independent office duty-bound totake
prompt action
on complaints filed against public officialsand other employees of the government. By fearlessly takingaction and by promptly investigating and prosecuting complaintsbrought before it, the Office the Ombudsman is envisioned to bethe bulwark in enforcing public accountability among publicofficials.
“Article XI: Accountability of Public Officers
Section 12. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people,
shall act promptly
on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision,agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and shall, in appropriate cases, notify thecomplainants of the action taken and the result thereof.Section 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions, and duties:
Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official,employee, office or agency, when such act or omission
appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient
Section 15 of the RA 6770 or the Ombudsman Law similarly provides:
Sec. 15.
Powers,Functions and Duties—
The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filedagainst high ranking government officials and/or those occupyingsupervisory positions xxx
Section 15 of the RA 6770 or the Ombudsman Act on thepowers and functions of the Ombudsman, carries the sameprovision:
“Sec. 15.
 Powers, Functions and Duties.
- The Office of the Ombudsmanshall have the following powers, functions and duties:(1)
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 orinefficient
.” (emphasis supplied)
 The above is the reason why the Ombudsman is vested withindependence, as well as vast powers and broad discretion incarrying out its mandate of enforcing public accountability withinthe ranks of the government service. It is expected to take aproactive role in rooting out corruption, inefficiency andimpropriety in government, and not merely stand as a passivereceiver of complaints and evidence from the public.What is the remedy if the person charged, such as theOmbudsman, with prosecuting public officials for acts or omissionswhich appear to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient is herself charged with acts which are illegal, unjust or improper at the veryleast
illegal, unjust, improper or at the very leastinefficient ? The recourse is impeachment under Section 2 of Article XI:
“Section 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of theSupreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and theOmbudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for andconviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graftand corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other  public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided bylaw, but not by impeachment.”
Ultimate Facts
Public service is of crucial importance to effectivegovernance. This is the reason why the Ombudsman was giventhe broad powers to prosecute not only acts or omissions that areillegal, unjust or improper but even acts or omissions that merely

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