You are on page 1of 23

G.R. No. 196231 September 4, 2012 the President in OP-DC-Case No.

11-B-003, the administrative case initiated against petitioner as a
Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman. The petition likewise seeks to declare as
EMILIO A. GONZALES III, Petitioner, unconstitutional Section 8(2) of R.A. No. 6770 giving the President the power to dismiss a Special
vs. Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman.
SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY JOSE AMOR M. The facts from which these two cases separately took root are neither complicated nor unfamiliar.
AMORANDO, Officer in Charge, Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, ATTY.
RONALDO A. GERON, DIR. ROWENA TURINGAN-SANCHEZ, and ATTY. CARLITOD. In the morning of August 23, 2010, news media scampered for a minute-by-minute coverage of a
CATAYONG, Respondents. hostage drama that had slowly unfolded right at the very heart of the City of Manila. While initial
news accounts were fragmented it was not difficult to piece together the story on the hostage-
x-----------------------x taker, Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza. He was a disgruntled former police officer
attempting to secure his reinstatement in the police force and to restore the benefits of a life-long,
G.R. No. 196232 and erstwhile bemedaled, service. The following day, broadsheets and tabloids were replete with
stories not just of the deceased hostage-taker but also of the hostage victims, eight of whom died
during the bungled police operation to rescue the hapless innocents. Their tragic deaths triggered
WENDELL BARRERAS-SULIT, Petitioner, word wars of foreign relation proportions. One newspaper headline ran the story in detail, as
vs. follows:
.JR., in their capacities as CHAIRMAN and MEMBERS of the OFFICE OF MALACAÑANG LEGAL MANILA, Philippines - A dismissed policeman armed with an assault rifle hijacked a bus packed
AFFAIRS, Respondents. with tourists, and killed most of its passengers in a 10 hour-hostage drama shown live on national
television until last night.

Former police senior inspector Rolando Mendoza was shot dead by a sniper at past 9 p.m.
Mendoza hijacked the bus and took 21 Chinese tourists hostage, demanding his reinstatement to
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: the police force.

The Case The hostage drama dragged on even after the driver of the bus managed to escape and told police
that all the remaining passengers had been killed.
These two petitions have been consolidated not because they stem from the same factual milieu
but because they raise a common thread of issues relating to the President's exercise of the power Late into the night assault forces surrounded the bus and tried to gain entry, but a pair of dead
to remove from office herein petitioners who claim the protective cloak of independence of the hostages hand-cuffed to the door made it difficult for them. Police said they fired at the wheels of
constitutionally-created office to which they belong - the Office of the Ombudsman. the bus to immobilize it.

The first case, docketed as G.R. No. 196231, is a Petition for Certiorari (with application for Police used hammers to smash windows, door and wind-shield but were met with intermittent fire
issuance of temporary restraining order or status quo order) which assails on jurisdictional grounds from the hos-tage taker.
the Decision1 dated March 31, 2011 rendered by the Office of the President in OP Case No. 10-J-
460 dismissing petitioner Emilio A. Gonzales III, Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other
Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO), upon a finding of guilt on the administrative charges of Gross Police also used tear gas in an effort to confirm if the remaining hostages were all dead or alive.
Neglect of Duty and Grave Misconduct constituting a Betrayal of Public Trust. The petition When the standoff ended at nearly 9 p.m., some four hostages were rescued alive while Mendoza
primarily seeks to declare as unconstitutional Section 8(2) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6770, was killed by a sniper.
otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989, which gives the President the power to dismiss
a Deputy Ombudsman of the Office of the Ombudsman. Initial reports said some 30 policemen stormed the bus. Shots also rang out, sending bystanders
scampering for safety.
The second case, docketed as G.R. No. 196232, is a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition (with
application for issuance of a temporary restraining order or status quo order) seeking to annul, It took the policemen almost two hours to assault the bus because gunfire reportedly rang out
reverse and set aside (1) the undated Order2 requiring petitioner Wendell Barreras-Sulit to submit from inside the bus.
a written explanation with respect to alleged acts or omissions constituting serious/grave offenses
in relation to the Plea Bargaining Agreement (PLEBARA) entered into with Major General Carlos F. Mendoza hijacked the tourist bus in the morning and took the tourists hostage.
Garcia; and (2) the April 7, 2011 Notice of Preliminary Investigation,3 both issued by the Office of

Mendoza, who claimed he was illegally dismissed from the police service, initially released nine of Internal Affairs Service and the Manila Regional Trial Court had already dismissed crim-inal cases
the hostages during the drama that began at 10 a.m. and played out live on national television. against him.

Live television footage showed Mendoza asking for food for those remaining in the bus, which was The hostage drama began when Mendoza flagged down the Hong Thai Travel Tourist bus (TVU-
delivered, and fuel to keep the air-conditioning going. The disgruntled former police officer was 799), pretend-ing to hitch a ride. Margarejo said the bus had just left Fort Santiago in Intramuros
reportedly armed with an M-16 rifle, a 9 mm pistol and two hand grenades. when Mendoza asked the driver to let him get on and ride to Quirino Grandstand. Upon reaching
the Quirino Grandstand, Mendoza an-nounced to the passengers that they would be taken
Mendoza posted a handwritten note on the windows of the bus, saying "big deal will start after 3 hostage. "Having worn his (police) uniform, of course there is no doubt that he already planned
p.m. today." Another sign stuck to another window said "3 p.m. today deadlock." the hostage taking," Margarejo said. - Sandy Araneta, Nestor Etolle, Delon Porcalla, Amanda
Fisher, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Christi-na Mendez, AP Grandstand Carnage, The Philippine Star,
Updated August 24, 2010 12:00 AM, Val Rodri-guez.4
Stressing his demand, Mendoza stuck a piece of paper with a handwritten message: "Big mistake
to correct a big wrong decision." A larger piece of paper on the front windshield was headed,
"Release final decision," apparently referring to the case that led to his dismissal from the police In a completely separate incident much earlier in time, more particularly in December of 2003, 28-
force. year-old Juan Paolo Garcia and 23-year-old Ian Carl Garcia were caught in the United States
smuggling $100,000 from Manila by concealing the cash in their luggage and making false
statements to US Customs Officers. The Garcia brothers pleaded guilty to bulk cash smuggling and
Negotiations dragged on even after Mendoza's self-imposed deadline. agreed to forfeit the amount in favor of the US Government in exchange for the dismissal of the
rest of the charges against them and for being sentenced to time served. Inevitably, however, an
Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza said his brother was upset over his dismissal from the investigation into the source of the smuggled currency conducted by US Federal Agents and the
police force. "His problem was he was unjustly removed from service. There was no due process, Philippine Government unraveled a scandal of military corruption and amassed wealth -- the boys'
no hearing, no com-plaint," Gregorio said. father, Retired Major General Carlos F. Garcia, former Chief Procurement Officer of the Armed
Forces, had accumulated more than ₱ 300 Million during his active military service. Plunder and
Last night, Gregorio was arrested by his colleagues on suspicions of being an accessory to his Anti-Money Laundering cases were eventually filed against Major General Garcia, his wife and
brother's action. Tensions rose as relatives tried to prevent lawmen from arresting Gregorio in their two sons before the Sandiganbayan.
front of national television. This triggered the crisis that eventually forced Mendoza to carry out his
threat and kill the remaining hostages. G.R. No. 196231

Negotiators led by Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador tried to talk Sometime in 2008, a formal charge5 for Grave Misconduct (robbery, grave threats, robbery
Mendoza into surrendering and releasing the 21 hostages, mostly children and three Filipinos, extortion and physical injuries) was filed before the Philippine National Police-National Capital
including the driver, the tourist guide and a photographer. Yebra reportedly lent a cellphone to Region (PNP-NCR) against Manila Police District Senior Inspector (P/S Insp.) Rolando Mendoza, and
allow communications with Mendoza in-side the bus, which was parked in front ofthe Quirino four others, namely, Police Inspector Nelson Lagasca, Senior Police Inspector I Nestor David, Police
Grandstand. Officer III Wilson Gavino, and Police Officer II Roderick Lopena. A similar charge was filed by the
private complainant, Christian M. Kalaw, before the Office of the City Prosecutor, Manila, docketed
Children could be seen peeking from the drawn curtains of the bus while police negotiators as I.S. No. 08E-09512.
hovered near the scene.
On July 24, 2008, while said cases were still pending, the Office of the Regional Director of the
Manila Police District (MPD) director Chief Superinten-dent Rodolfo Magtibay ordered the National Police Commission (NPC) turned over, upon the request of petitioner Emilio A. Gonzales
deployment of crack police teams and snipers near the scene. A crisis man-agement committee III, all relevant documents and evidence in relation to said case to the Office of the Deputy
had been activated with Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno coordinating the actions with the MPD. Ombudsman for appropriate administrative adjudication.6 Subsequently, Case No. OMB-P-A-08-
0670-H for Grave Misconduct was lodged against P/S Insp. Rolando Mendoza and his fellow police
officers, who filed their respective verified position papers as directed.
Earlier last night, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez had a meeting with Moreno to discuss
Mendoza's case that led to his dismissal from the service. Ombudsman spokesman Jose de Jesus
said Gutierrez gave a "sealed letter" to Moreno to be delivered to Mendoza. De Jesus did not Meanwhile, on August 26, 2008, I.S. No. 08E-09512 was dismissed7 upon a finding that the material
elaborate on the contents of the letter but said Moreno was tasked to personally deliver the letter allegations made by the complainant had not been substantiated "by any evidence at all to
to Mendoza. warrant the indictment of respondents of the offenses charged." Similarly, the Internal Affairs
Service of the PNP issued a Resolution8 dated October 17, 2008 recommending the dismissal
without prejudice of the administrative case against the same police officers, for failure of the
MPD spokesman Chief Inspector Edwin Margarejo said Mendoza was apparently distraught by the complainant to appear in three (3) consecutive hearings despite due notice.
slow process of the Ombudsman in deciding his motion for reconside-ration. He said the PNP-

Cecilio. government service pursuant to Section 58. years of service in the PNP with forfeiture of all his benefits. which was not previously sustained by the City HongKong Chinese nationals. for final approval by Ombudsman Merceditas N. Ombudsman Gutierrez and Deputy Ombudsman Gonzales committed complete rules to resolve motions for reconsideration in administrative disciplinary cases within five (5) days and wanton violation of the Ombudsman prescribed rule to resolve motions for reconsideration in from submission. The same case. they filed a Motion for Reconsideration10 of the foregoing Decision. as well as the Ombudsman herself. with the accessory penalties of was filed much ahead by Mendoza et al. The prolonged administrative disciplinary cases within five (5) days from submission (Sec. 2010. grave threats and physical WHEREFORE. P/INSP. Ombudsman Rules of inaction precipitated the desperate resort to hostage-taking. the case which Rule IV. there being no opposition to the motion for reconsideration. Clarence V. During the proceedings. 2010 for appropriate action by his immediate superior. SPO1 NESTOR REYES Manila City Prosecutors Office for lack of probable cause and by the PNP-NCR DAVID and PO2 RODERICK SALVA LOPEÑA of Manila Police District. 2009. 2010 in a desperate (c) Subsequently. Mendoza. for having committed GRAVE MISCONDUCT. Gen. the IIRC eventually identified petitioner to the Ombudsman for immediate resolution of his motion for Gonzales to be among those in whom culpability must lie. was attempt to have himself reinstated in the police service.without citing any reason . Camp Brig. Rolando Mendoza and his fellow police without legal and compelling bases considering the following: officers guilty of Grave Misconduct was approved by the Ombudsman. On the other hand. Parang. 8. 2009) based on the sole and uncorroborated complaint- In the aftermath of the hostage-taking incident. Christian Kalaw did not also affirm 2010. refused to participate in the IIRC (d) Despite the pending and unresolved motion for reconsideration. Director Eulogio NCR. was given due course by the City Prosecutors Office. From the said Mendoza. the proceedings on the assertion that the Office of the Ombudsman is an independent constitutional judgment of dismissal was enforced. Rule IV of the same Uniform Rules of Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. The inaction is gross. considering there is no opposition thereto. Christian Kalaw. The dispositive portion of said Decision reads: (a) PSI Mendoza and four policemen were investigated by the Ombudsman involving a case for alleged robbery (extortion). OMB-P-A-08-0670-H finding P/S Insp. together with the case records. who released docketing of the case and named Atty. the pleadings mentioned and the records of the case were assigned for review adjudication. No opposition and vice-chaired by Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesus Robredo. Salipada K. Shariff Kabunsuan. Garcia. submit evidence and prosecute the case.13 chaired by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and filed November 5.14 the IIRC made the reconsideration. determine accountability for the incident through the conduct of public hearings and executive sessions. thereby showing undue interest on the case. petitioner. Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. it is respectfully recommended that respondents P/S endorse the case against followed by a Supplement to the Motion for Reconsideration 11 on November 19. a More so. Gutierrez. NELSON URBANO LAGASCA. Mendoza's demand for immediate resolution of his motion for reconsideration is not Decision9 in Case No. Gonzalez III. Procedure). however. 2009. who. (b) The Ombudsman exercised jurisdiction over the case based on a letter issued motu proprio for Deputy Ombudsman Emilio A. the injury of seven others and the death of P/S Insp. be meted the penalty of DISMISSAL from the Service. Not more than ten (10) days after. Manila. Headquarters. who indorsed the case records. . as the nominal complainant. Mendoza interposed a timely motion for reconsideration (dated the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC). in turn. Christian Kalaw. after serving preventive suspension.However. ROLANDO DEL ROSARIO injuries amounting to grave misconduct allegedly committed against a certain MENDOZA and PO3 WILSON MATIC GAVINO of PRO-ARMM. petitioner endorsed his complaint-affidavit with the Ombudsman or submit any position paper as the Order. on February 16. signed and forwarded said Order to petitioner Gonzalez's office on April 27. in lieu of S. 2009. against Christian Kalaw involving the forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the same incident. pursuant to Section 52 (A). 2009. a public outcry against the blundering of government officials prompted the creation of Resolution. However. 2009) as well as a supplement thereto. It was tasked to or comment was filed thereto. Mendoza sought urgent relief by sending several hand-written letter-requests Sifting through testimonial and documentary evidence. Guinto of the PNP-CIDG- a draft Order12 on April 5. On Mendoza and the arresting policemen to his office for administrative December 14. The inaction is gross. He also caused the and recommendation to Graft Investigation and Prosecutor Officer Dennis L. upon the recommendation of petitioner Emilio Gonzales III. thereby abruptly ending Mendoza's 30 body. But his requests fell on deaf ears. As a result. in whose office it remained pending for final review and action when P/S Insp. required. more particularly on May 6. the PNP-NCR . United Nations Internal Affairs Service for failure of the complainant (Christian Kalaw) to Avenue. In its Report. Rolando Prosecutor's Office and the PNP Internal Affairs Service. was previously dismissed by the Pendatun. Mendoza hijacked a bus-load of foreign tourists on that fateful day of August 23. adjudged liable for grave misconduct by Deputy Ombudsman Gonzales (duly approved on May 21. which ended in the tragic murder of eight affidavit of Christian Kalaw. in violation of the Ombudsman prescribed any justification. following findings: xxxx Deputy Ombudsman Gonzales committed serious and inexcusable negligence and gross violation of their own rules of procedure by allowing Mendoza's motion for reconsideration to languish for By allowing Mendoza's motion for reconsideration to languish for nine long (9) months without more than nine (9) months without any justification. directing On November 5.

or benefit. the Gutierrez. triggering the collapse of the negotiations. and for Misconduct in Office under Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. reconsideration is denied. simply be a charade. and also. Despite petitioner's absence. for himself or for any other of dismissal before the higher courts and seek a temporary restraining order to prevent the further person. Mendoza did express willingness to take full responsibility he filed an Objection to Proceedings22 on February 7. in view of the foregoing. Unfortunately.A. No. percentage.O. it was already too late. manifest injustice and oppression in failing to provisionally suspend the further of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of E. 3019 and Section 7(d) of R. 2010. without necessarily compromising the integrity of the institution. rendered the assailed Decision.18 In a Joint have provisionally suspended the further enforcement of the judgment of dismissal without Resolution19 dated February 17. the believing that the OP had already prejudged his case and that any proceeding before it would crisis may have ended peacefully. he heard the news that the OP had announced his suspension for one of the judgment of dismissal subject to revocation once the reconsideration is denied and without year due to his delay in the disposition of P/S Insp. they should have performed their duty by resolving the Meanwhile. Mendoza's motion for reconsideration. Besides. the as completely finished and. prejudice to the arrest and prosecution of Mendoza for the hostage-taking. if the Ombudsman cannot resolve with dispatch the motion for reconsideration. Fangon before the Internal his motion for reconsideration remained pending and unresolved. 2011. as relayed to the negotiators. complaint is hereby be [sic] DISMISSED. But had the Ombudsman officials performed their duty under the law and acted Hence. as follows: Ombudsman will benefit from its own inaction. with solicitation or acceptance of As such. without first resolving the motion for reconsideration. 2011. on March 31. it should gifts under Section 7(d) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards. the judgment is not yet ripe for execution.A. finding no probable cause to indict respondent Emilio A. As long as October 29. hence. After all. 292 and other pertinent Civil implementation of the judgment of dismissal against Mendoza pending disposition of his unresolved motion for reconsideration. Hence. and Php150. Ombudsman Gutierrez and Deputy Ombudsman Gonzales committed serious disregard Neglect of Duty and/or Inefficiency in the Performance of Official Duty under Rule XIV. Had they done so. Instead.000 in exchange for favorably resolving the motion for reconsideration . To prevent the situation from getting out of hand. premises considered. wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law" under Section 3(b) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. share. in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other execution thereof. When the two Ombudsman officials received Mendoza's demand for the release of the final order resolving his motion for reconsideration. 2011. the two Ombudsman officials acted with arbitrariness and without regard to due Shortly after the filing by the OP of the administrative case against petitioner. Office of the President (OP) for further determination of possible administrative offenses and for thereby rendering the inaction even more inexcusable and unjust as to amount to gross negligence the initiation of the proper administrative proceedings. By enforcing the judgment of dismissal without resolving the motion for reconsideration for over nine months. the complaint was dismissed. however. prejudice to its re-implementation if the reconsideration is eventually denied. a complaint dated process and the constitutional right of an accused to the speedy disposition of his case. 6713. the two Ombudsman officials merely offered to review a pending motion for review of the case. finding no sufficient evidence to hold respondent administratively liable for Misconduct. the OP notified20 petitioner that a Preliminary Clarificatory Conference relative to the reconsideration that same day since it was already pending for nine months and the prescribed administrative charge against him was to be conducted at the Office of the Deputy Executive period for its resolution is only five days. decisively. petitioner no longer attended the scheduled clarificatory conference. which was approved by Ombudsman Ma. the adjudication process before the Ombudsman cannot be considered Gonzales III for violations of Section 3(b) of R. arbitrarily The IIRC recommended that its findings with respect to petitioner Gonzales be referred to the enforced the judgment of dismissal and ignored the intervening requests for immediate resolution. Petitioner Gonzales alleged. 2010 was filed by Acting Assistant Ombudsman Joselito P. the OP instituted a Formal Charge15 against petitioner Gonzales for Gross SECOND. Mendoza was also effectively Affairs Board of the Office of the Ombudsman charging petitioner with "directly or indirectly deprived of the right to avail of the ordinary course of appeal or review to challenge the judgment requesting or receiving any gift. the Ombudsman. the entire crisis may have ended differently. As WHEREFORE. xxxx Further. Merceditas N.16 Petitioner filed his Answer17 thereto in due time. Section 22 of due process. Service Laws. then they Secretary for Legal Affairs (ODESLA) on February 8. Otherwise. and grave misconduct. rules and regulations. 2011. 2011. party.21 however. . On October 15. reinstatement pending resolution of the motion for reconsideration. Mendoza . present. this Office finds Deputy Ombudsman Emilio A. Gonzales III expected. No. the same is likewise DISMISSED.23 the dispositive portion of which reads: But instead of acting decisively. the negotiators sought the alternative option of securing before the PNP-NCRPO an order for Mendoza's provisional SO ORDERED. branded as trash ("basura") the Ombudsman [sic] letter promising review. Or if they cannot resolve it that same day. thereby prolonging their inaction and aggravating the situation. the petition. Until the motion for WHEREFORE.who previously berated Deputy Gonzales for allegedly demanding guilty of Gross Neglect of Duty and Grave Misconduct constituting betrayal of public trust. for the hostage-taking if his demand for release of the final decision or reinstatement was met. the OP pushed through with the proceedings and. should have acted decisively by issuing an order provisionally suspending the further enforcement that on February 4.rejected and hereby meted out the penalty of DISMISSAL from service. No. the litigant is entitled to a stay of the execution pending resolution of his motion for reconsideration.Besides.

petitioners asseverate (B) that the President has no disciplinary jurisdiction over them considering that the Office of the Ombudsman to which they belong is clothed with constitutional independence and that they. GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN FINDING still proceeded with the case. Garcia. SB09CRM0194) before the Sandiganbayan. RESPONDENTS. grounds for removal from office under the Ombudsman Act. 2010. the Sandiganbayan denied Major General Garcia's urgent petition for bail THAT PETITIONER COMMITTED DELAY IN THE DISPOSITION OF MENDOZA'S MOTION FOR holding that strong prosecution evidence militated against the grant of bail. Short of claiming themselves immune from the ordinary means of removal. however. No. setting it for preliminary investigation on April 15.R.R. 11-B-003 against petitioner Barreras-Sulit. 28107) and Money Laundering (Criminal Case No. . ACTING THROUGH THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONDENTS. however. Outraged by the backroom deal that could allow Major General Garcia to get off the hook with nothing but a slap on the hand notwithstanding the prosecution's apparently strong evidence of his culpability for serious public offenses. THAT THERE WAS SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT PETITIONER DEMANDED A BRIBE FROM MENDOZA. ACTING THROUGH THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONDENTS. represented by petitioner.G. Garcia. On the other hand. No. ACTING THROUGH THE OTHER INDIVIDUAL Prosecutor who belong to the constitutionally-created Office of the Ombudsman. On May 4. 196231. GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER TOOK UNDUE INTEREST IN MENDOZA'S CASE. ACTING THROUGH THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONDENTS. 24recommending to the RESPONDENT OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. their sons Ian Carl Garcia. necessarily bear the constitutional attributes RESPONDENTS. Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit ("Barreras-Sulit") and her prosecutorial staff sought the Sandiganbayan's approval of a Plea (D) Bargaining Agreement (hereinafter referred to as "PLEBARA") entered into with the accused. In April of 2005. the petition. 3. the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution finding the change of plea warranted and the PLEBARA compliant with jurisprudential guidelines. the government. RECONSIDERATION. the Committee on Justice passed and adopted Committee Resolution No. WOULD TAKING AND CONTINUING TO TAKE ADMINISTRATIVE In G. petitioner Gonzales raises the following grounds. in G. The OP. of the OP with respect to the administrative disciplinary proceeding against her. RESPONDENT OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. RESPONDENT OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. which are violations under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and HOSTAGE CRISIS. ACTING THROUGH THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONDENTS. as RESPONDENT OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. 2010. to wit: DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING AGAINST PETITIONER BE LAWFUL AND JUSTIFIABLE?26 (A) Re-stated. GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN FINDING On January 7.R. petitioner raised the defenses of prematurity and the lack of jurisdiction RESPONDENT OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. No. In her written explanation. 2011.25 Hence. the House of Representatives' Committee on Justice (E) conducted public hearings on the PLEBARA. ACTING THROUGH THE OTHER INDIVIDUAL Deputy Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor therein. 196232. his wife Clarita D. President the dismissal of petitioner Barreras-Sulit from the service and the filing of appropriate GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN charges against her Deputies and Assistants before the appropriate government office for having FAULTING PETITIONER FOR NOT RELEASING THE RESOLUTION ON MENDOZA'S MOTION FOR committed acts and/or omissions tantamount to culpable violations of the Constitution and RECONSIDERATION OR FOR NOT SUSPENDING MENDOZA'S DISMISSAL FROM SERVICE DURING THE betrayal of public trust. HAS NO CONSTITUTIONAL OR VALID STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO SUBJECT PETITIONER TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION AND TO THEREAFTER ORDER HIS REMOVAL The Court's Ruling AS DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN. (F) The Office of the President initiated OP-DC-Case No. the Acting Deputy Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman charged Major General Carlos F. On March 16. At the conclusion of these public hearings. Juan Paulo (C) Garcia and Timothy Mark Garcia and several unknown persons with Plunder (Criminal Case No. 2010. GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF of said office. petitioner Barreras-Sulit poses for the Court the question - The Issues AS OF THIS POINT IN TIME. the primordial question in these two petitions is whether the Office of the President has jurisdiction to exercise administrative disciplinary power over a Deputy Ombudsman and a Special RESPONDENT OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. 196232 JURISDICTION WHEN IT CONDUCTED ITS INVESTIGATION AND RENDERED ITS DECISION IN VIOLATION OF PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.

21. 6770. suspension. including those in government-owned or controlled corporations.(Emphasis authority to "act in a quick. 6. Section 6. powers "explicitly conferred" upon it by the 1987 Constitution and R. inefficiencies and corruption in government freed from the hampering effects of prosecutorial duties.A. Administrative complaints. Proceed from a mistake of law or an arbitrary ascertainment of facts. The Swedish Government and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high term. unjust. Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution provided thus: Congress thereafter passed. Republic Act No. inexpensive and effective manner on complaints against administrative supplied) officials". Are otherwise irregular. or (4) Direct the officer concerned. Government. to be known as disciplinary power over public officials and employees. demotion. have disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the Government and its subdivisions. entered into by his office involving the disbursement or use of public funds or properties. though in accordance with law. pertinent records and documents.27 and is subsumed under the broad prudence. It is true that the authority of the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct administrative investigations proceeds from its constitutional mandate to be an effective protector of the people (6) Publicize matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and with due against inept and corrupt government officers and employees. or any subdivision. 3. and report any irregularity to the Commission on Audit for appropriate action. 6770. Article XI of the 1987 Constitution In the exercise of such full administrative disciplinary authority. oppressive or discriminatory. government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.31 creation of the Tanodbayan. make appropriate recommendations. red tape. except over officials who The framers of the 1987 Constitution later envisioned a more effective ombudsman vested with may be removed only by impeachment or over Members of Congress. including Members of the Cabinet. . Exceptions. The Court is not convinced. 19.28 (7) Determine the causes of inefficiency. prevent. 29 This idea of a people's (8) Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions protector was first institutionalized in the Philippines under the 1973 Constitution with the or duties as may be provided by law. to acts or omissions which: (2) Direct. or prosecution. office or agency. local government. any act or omission of any public official. or on complaint by any person. (3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault. viz: explicitly conferred the statutory power to conduct administrative investigations under Section 19 of the same law. to perform and expedite any act or duty 2. Are inconsistent with the general course of an agency's functions. functions." communicates the concept that has been standards of ethics and efficiency. Are contrary to law or regulation. No. instrumentalities and agencies. and 4. any public official or employee of the 1. employee. and corruption in the The ombudsman traces its origins to the primitive legal order of Germanic tribes. censure. or Sec. if necessary.The Ombudsman shall act on all complaints relating. which shall receive and investigate complaints relative to public office. unfair.30 Accordingly. 1989. 5."32 as follows: Tanodbayan. and the Judiciary. The Ombudsman's administrative disciplinary power over a Deputy Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor is not exclusive. upon complaint or at its own instance. to shore up the Ombudsman's institutional strength by granting it "full administrative Sec. thus: (1) Investigate on its own. the Ombudsman Act of 1989. fine. The Batasang Pambansa shall create an office of the Ombudsman. immoral or devoid of justification. . in any appropriate case. on November 17. the Office of the Ombudsman was enumerates the following powers. Section 13. or to stop. and in case of failure of justice as defined by law. file and prosecute the corresponding criminal. and recommend his removal. and to examine. Officials Subject to Disciplinary Authority. and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties. required by law. Sec.The Office of the Ombudsman shall administrative case before the proper court or body. or inefficient. and to function purely with the "prestige and persuasive powers of his office" in correcting improprieties. that is. civil. limited. when such act or omission appears to be illegal. mismanagement. which literally means "agent" or "representative. someone who acts as a neutral representative of ordinary citizens against government abuses. carried on into the creation of the modern-day ombudsman. which wielded the twin powers of investigation and prosecution. agency or instrumentality thereof. to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions 6. Are in the exercise of discretionary powers but for an improper purpose. and duties of the Office of the Ombudsman. Are unreasonable. fraud. but not improper. (5) Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities. . and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. as well as of any government- owned or controlled corporation with original charter. ensure compliance therewith.

7160). and Special Prosecutor without in the least diminishing the constitutional and plenary authority of the Ombudsman over all government officials and employees. 6770 leads to elective official shall be prepared as follows: the inevitable conclusion that Congress had intended the Ombudsman and the President to exercise concurrent disciplinary jurisdiction over petitioners as Deputy Ombudsman and Special (a) A complaint against any elective official of a province.A. grants the Indubitably.34 Sec. the pertinent provisions of the Ombudsman Act. 37 . legibus est optimus interpretendi. No. the Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Mandaue It is a basic canon of statutory construction that in interpreting a statute. Well settled is the rule that repeals of laws by implication are not favored. No. instead. He added that the President Ombudsman Act was inferred therefrom. The pivotal issue raised therein was whether the Ombudsman had been divested of his inoperative should be avoided.A. Thus: 21 . 3019. No. Such legislative design is simply a xxxx measure of "check and balance" intended to address the lawmakers' real and valid concern that the Ombudsman and his Deputy may try to protect one another from administrative liabilities. (2) A Deputy or the Special Prosecutor. considering the Chair's observation that vesting such authority upon the Tanodbayan removable by impeachment. care should be taken that City. Section 8(2). with the exception only of those officials however. 7160 should be viewed as having conferred on the Office of the President.. on the theory that it was enacted as an integrated measure and Ombudsman for the Visayas with violations of R. interpretare et concordare process" with the words after due notice and hearing with the President as the ultimate authority. the law subsequent enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991 (R. and the Revised Penal not as a hodge-podge of conflicting provisions. and a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. The rule is expressed in the maxim. it is necessary that an outside official should be vested with means exclusive.While the Ombudsman's authority to discipline administratively is extensive and covers all Replying thereto.A. No. and all Deputies would be an encroachment on the independence of the Tanodbayan. and after due process.. 61. The Congressional deliberations on this matter are quite insightful. there is nothing in the Local Government Code to indicate that it has the same Organic Act was to provide for an external authority. disciplinary authority over local elective officials. The Chair suggested the substitution of the phrase "after due implied repeal may be drawn. all doubts must be resolved against any implied repeal. a highly urbanized city. The two laws However. Gozo Dadole. every statute must be so interpreted and brought into accord with other laws as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence. Removal. before the inference of may try to protect one another. No. Despite the fact that R. Senator Guingona observed that this might impair the independence of the expressly or impliedly. i. such authority is by no itself could result in mutual protection.Section 8(2) and Section President express power of removal over a Deputy Ombudsman and a Special Prosecutor. that the Constitution provides for an independent Office legislature should be presumed to have known the existing laws on the subject and not to have of the Tanodbayan. respectively. and a clear finding thereof must surface. The two statutes on the Tanodbayan and suggested that the procedural removal of the Deputy Tanodbayan. This would not be the first instance that the Office of the President has locked horns with the Ombudsman on the matter of disciplinary jurisdiction.. A construction that would render a provision Code. Thus said the Court: alone has the power to remove the Deputy Tanodbayan. however. which prerogative falls beyond the pale of judicial inquiry.36 In said case. For. efforts should be exerted in order to harmonize and give effect to all laws on the subject. as to compel us to only can be removed not by the President but by the Ombudsman. and that courts must generally assume their congruent application..A. through the person of the President. Form and Filing of Administrative Complaints. No. Senator Angara stated that originally. on the other hand.35 disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman. viz: The Court resolved said issue in the negative. 6713. Hence. and to allow the Executive to have disciplinary powers over the Tanodbayan enacted conflicting statutes. apparently inconsistent provisions should be reconciled authority to conduct administrative investigations over said local elective officials by virtue of the whenever possible as parts of a coordinated and harmonious whole.e. an independent component city or component city shall be filed before the Office of the President. may be removed from office by the President for any of the grounds provided for the removal of the Ombudsman.. the Chair expressed apprehension that the Ombudsman and the Deputy Ombudsman must be absolutely incompatible. he was not averse to the proposal. uphold one and strike down the other.A verified complaint against any erring local A harmonious construction of these two apparently conflicting provisions in R. x x x Senator Angara explained that the phrase was added to highlight the fact that the Deputy 7160 was the more recent expression of legislative will. that would exercise the power of administrative discipline over the Deputy Ombudsman Section 8. the manifest intent of Congress in enacting both provisions .. the members of congress and the judiciary. government officials. whether appointive or elective. and kept subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment. Filling of Vacancy. Prosecutor. but not on an exclusive basis. upholding the ratiocination of the Solicitor General that R.A. R. This sharing of authority goes into the wisdom of the legislature. whether Reacting thereto.A. were charged before the Office of the Deputy every part thereof be given effect. An earlier conflict had been settled in favor of shared authority in Hagad v. Indeed. and that he specific matter in question are not so inconsistent.33Otherwise stated. the pertinent must not be read in truncated parts. Petitioners cannot insist that they should be solely and directly subject to the such authority to effect a check and balance. no repeal of pertinent provisions in the Tanodbayan may only be removed for cause and after due process. Every part thereof must be considered together with the provision of which states: other parts. while Section 21 declares the Ombudsman's disciplinary authority over all government officials. let alone irreconcilable. The fundament is that the Senator Guingona contended.

who are not set of procedural requirements in connection with administrative proceedings involving public subject to impeachment. Delijero39 tempered the exercise by constitutional provision similarly dealing with the removal from office of a Deputy Ombudsman.42 In Montemayor v. Yes. it would have been more prudent under the circumstances for the thus: Ombudsman to have referred to the DECS the complaint against the public school teacher. for that matter. Section 9. there has been Unquestionably. Bundalian." It thus declared that. MR. assuming that the Ombudsman's Internal Affairs Board properly conducted a subsequent and parallel administrative action against petitioner. however. under Section 2. including the extreme penalty of dismissal from the his duties because he is something like a guardian of the government. Only the Ombudsman? the President's exercise of his authority to remove a Deputy Ombudsman. Only the Ombudsman." fact. 46 exercise of administrative powers. RODRIGO. prudence should have prompted the Ombudsman to desist from proceeding separately against petitioner through its Internal Affairs Board. 6770. and to defer instead to the President's assumption of authority. Madam President. that the City Fiscal of Manila has the rank of a justice of the Intermediate President from proceeding against petitioner upon the same ground of graft and corruption. . Madam President. Only one man. RODRIGO. regarding the Ombudsman. school teachers"41 with the enactment of R. there is. So I think we should clarify that also and all. This recalls the statement of service. thank you. the more recent case of the Office of the Ombudsman v. Congress simply filled a Ombudsman the option to "refer certain complaints to the proper disciplinary authority for the gap in the law without running afoul of any provision in the Constitution or existing statutes. Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized.A. Before we vote on the amendment. No. So not his deputies. 4670. is this only one man? every vacancy thereafter. Such appointments shall require no confirmation. may I ask a question? Ombudsman and his Deputies. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodies". because I am concerned with the phrase "have the rank of". The Ombudsman and his Deputies shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least six nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council. ROMULO.A. After Appellate Court. MR. respect to removal from office of the Deputy Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor.While Hagad v. for instance. which gives the a Special Prosecutor. The Court categorically ruled therein that the prior dismissal by the Ombudsman of similar charges against said official did THE PRESIDENT. both of which are grounds reserved for MR. By enacting Section 8(2) of R. The purpose of the amendment of Commissioner Davide is not just to include the not operate as res judicata in the PCAGC case. discipline elective officials over the same disciplinary authority of the President under R. Office of the President was the first to initiate a case against petitioner Gonzales. The Ombudsman.43 the Court sustained the President's dismissal from service of a Regional Director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) who was found liable for unexplained wealth upon investigation by the now xxx defunct Philippine Commission Against Graft and Corruption (PCAGC). Congress merely filled an obvious gap in the law. no 7160. or the Ombudsman of such plenary power invoking Section 23(2)40 of R. Considering the principles attending concurrence of jurisdiction where the chairman of a constitutional commission is also removable only by impeachment. it is equally without question that the President has concurrent authority with Juvenal that while the Ombudsman is the guardian of the people. of graft and corruption against petitioner could not have the effect of preventing the Office of the We know. and from a list of three nominees for MR. authorizes Congress to provide for the removal of all The Court underscored therein the clear legislative intent of imposing "a standard and a separate other public officers. All vacancies shall be filled within three months after they occur.A. 6770. otherwise known as "The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers. That is the intention. not to the read our discussions into the Record for purposes of the Commission and the Committee. In institution of appropriate administrative proceedings against erring public officers or employees. including the Deputy Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor. Section 9. its earlier dismissal of the charge MR. Yes. No. viz: THE PRESIDENT. Department of Education. DAVIDE. On Section 10. REGALADO. REGALADO. especially when the administrative charge involved "demanding and soliciting a sum of money" which constitutes either graft and corruption or bribery. and yet he is not a part of the judiciary. the Constitution itself. Article XI of the 1987 Constitution confers upon the President the power to appoint the MR. REGALADO. No. However. which is by impeachment under Section 244 of the same Article. MONSOD. Gozo Dadole38 upheld the plenary power of the Office of the Ombudsman to While the removal of the Ombudsman himself is also expressly provided for in the Constitution. DAVIDE. MR. MR. while the Ombudsman's administrative disciplinary That the Deputies of the Ombudsman were intentionally excluded from the enumeration of authority over a public school teacher is concurrent with the proper investigating committee of the impeachable officials is clear from the following deliberations45 of the Constitutional Commission. the doctrine of res judicata applies only to judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings. Is that right? By granting express statutory power to the President to remove a Deputy Ombudsman and a Special Prosecutor. In any case. MR. albeit under who will guard the guardians? I understand here that the Ombudsman who has the rank of a specified conditions. Ombudsman among those officials who have to be removed from office only onimpeachment. the Ombudsman is possessed of jurisdiction to discipline his own people and concern aired by Commissioner Rodrigo about who will see to it that the Ombudsman will perform mete out administrative sanctions upon them.A.

The Reform the Armed Forces Movement Section 12 and 13. This deputy will.that is. a provision for the of office. Visayas and Mindanao. RODRIGO. one over-all Deputy and at least one Deputy each for Court may be removed after impeachment proceedings initiated by Congress (Section 2. authority to inquire Office of the Ombudsman is tenuous. all officers appointed by the President are also removable by him. and the Commission on Audit Section 1(2). Visayas and Mindanao. mobilizer of government. The Guardians. the implied accusation being that most institutional strength to effectively function as official critic. the Ombudsman was mandate to be a protector of the people. The MR. Being aware of the constitutional imperative of shielding the Office of the Ombudsman from political influences and the discretionary acts of the executive. Ordinary soldiers.47 (Emphasis supplied) Ombudsman can designate a deputy to help the ordinary foot soldier get through with his grievance to higher authorities. Ombudsman. therefore.49 The exception to this is when the law expressly provides otherwise . political independence. the Commission on The integrity and effectiveness of the Deputy Ombudsman for the MOLEO as a military watchdog Elections Section 1(2). Members of the Supreme Ombudsman to be known as Tanodbayan. if not resultantly negates the independence of the categorized into investigatory power. 6770 granting the President the power to remove a Deputy The Office of the Ombudsman is charged with monumental tasks that have been generally Ombudsman from office totally frustrates. the appointments and discipline of all persons under the office" are appointment of a separate deputy for the military establishment was necessitated by "reasonably insulated from the whims of politicians. an informal decrease in salaries during the term of office Section 10. There is hereby created the independent Office of the Ombudsman. of course work in close cooperation with the Minister of National Defense because of the necessity to maintain the integrity of the chain of The Power of the President to Remove a Deputy Ombudsman and a Special Prosecutor is Implied command. outside the chain of command" which have become the common soldiers' "informal grievance composed of the Ombudsman and his Deputies. This proposed amendment merely seeks to extend the office of the Ombudsman to the military establishment. Congress laid down two restrictions ."52 And so it was that Section 5. but they may be removed only by impeachment (Section military is certainly of primordial importance in relation to the President's own role asCommander- 2. Not including his deputies. The Chairpersons and Commissioners of the Civil Service Commission Section 1(2). No. collectors and as mutual aid societies. more or less. complaints. No. when they know they can turn to a military Ombudsman for their from his Power to Appoint. Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. Pertinent provisions under In our own Philippine Armed Forces. President concurrent disciplinary authority over the Deputy Ombudsman for the military and other law enforcement offices. Under Section 9.(Emphasis supplied) administrative supervision over all its personnel (Sections 6 and 11. A separate deputy for the military establishment shall likewise be while judges of lower courts may be removed only by the Supreme Court by virtue of its appointed. The Ombudsman will help raise troop morale in accordance with a major professed Under the doctrine of implication. The independence which the Office of the Ombudsman is and obtain information and the function to adopt. Luzon. the Members of the Supreme Court and Section 5. therefore. the Constitution expressly separates the power to remove from the President's power to appoint. Article XI). This means nothing more than that "the terms However. Article XI. corruption and neglect in the uniformed service. of the resources are used up in Manila instead of sent to soldiers in the field.51 thus: and constitutionally mandated to act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government Section 12. MONSOD. essentially. Article IX(C). the power to appoint carries with it the power to remove. Article XI) but may also be removed only by impeachment (Section 2.A. However. there has arisen in recent years a type of fraternal association Article XI prescribes a term of office of seven years without reappointment Section 11. Ombudsman is. As priorly stated. In some cases.MR. just as it champions the common people against bureaucratic indifference. when the power to remove The add-on now forms part of Section 5. composed of the judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President. They constitute. It would not be incongruous for Congress. Congress simply laid down in express terms an authority that is already implied from the Granting the President the Power to Remove a Deputy Ombudsman does not Diminish the President's constitutional authority to appoint the aforesaid officials in the Office of the Independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. provides strict qualifications for the office grievance machinery against injustices to the rank and file soldiery and perceive graft in higher Section 8. The claim that Section 8(2) of R.50 In order to ensure the effectiveness of his constitutional role. grants fiscal autonomy Section 14 and ensures the exercise of constitutional functions rank and neglect of the needs of troops in combat zones. It certainly cannot be made to extend to Diablo and other organizations dominated by enlisted men function. Article XI). in fact. may not have to fall back on their own informal devices to obtain redress for their grievances. Article IX(B). who are described as "protectors of the people" machinery" against injustice. Article VIII).48 As a goal of the President and the military authorities themselves. In giving the President the power to remove a Deputy Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor. x x x general rule. Article IX(D) shall looking into abuses and irregularities that affect the general morale and professionalism in the likewise be appointed by the President. institute and implement preventive vested with was intended to free it from political considerations in pursuing its constitutional measures. to grant the (Section 9. the Ombudsman himself shall be appointed by the President in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Article XI which reads as follows: is expressly vested in an office or authority other than the appointing power. the salary. What the Constitution secures for the Office of the provided with an over-all deputy as well as a deputy each for Luzon. public assistance. as grievance wrongdoings and permit the unbridled acts of its officials to escape administrative discipline. The cloak of independence is meant to build up the Office of the Ombudsman's of RAM has kept precincts for pushing logistics to the field. prohibits a outside the chain of command proposing reformist objectives. Article XI). the El constitutional watchdog53 and protector of the people. Article XI of Commissioner Ople's lament against the rise within the armed forces of "fraternal associations the 1987 Constitution had declared the creation of the independent Office of the Ombudsman. prosecutorial power. well into the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.

the allegations and evidence The essence of due process is that a party is afforded reasonable opportunity to be heard and to of petitioner in his Answer as well as other documentary evidence. He had squandered a subsequent opportunity Mendoza's case endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman and resolving the same against P/S . respondent was given the opportunity to submit his answer together with his Ombudsman. Office of the Ombudsman.59 independence in this wise - In administrative proceedings. that petitioner later Constitution as well as RA 6770 has endowed it with a wide latitude of investigatory and refused to participate in the hearings before the OP is not a hindrance to a finding of his culpability prosecutory powers virtually free from legislative. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him Mendoza's dismissal notwithstanding the latter's non-receipt of his copy of the Decision and the and given an opportunity to explain or defend himself. As long as petitioner was given the opportunity to explain his side and present evidence. 1987 Constitution). acts as the champion of the people and the preserver of the integrity of public service. executive or judicial intervention. In the second instance. the Court finds no cause for petitioner Gonzales to complain simply because the OP failure to verify the basis for requesting the Ombudsman to take over the case. or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or service. a measure of this Office called a Clarificatory Conference on 8 February 2011 pursuant to respondent's express protection of the independence of the Ombudsman's Deputies and Special Prosecutor in the election of a formal investigation. Mendoza of against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. III. namely. which only requires that a decision must "have something upon consistently refrains from interfering with the exercise of its powers. "culpable violation of the Constitution. which is a constitutional ground for the removal by impeachment of the Ombudsman (Section 2. 10-J-460 which led to the dismissal of herein petitioner. and a statutory ground for the President to remove from office a Deputy Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor. Article XI of the 1987 Constitution. In administrative proceedings. Reiterating the grounds for impeachment laid down in Section 2. 'beholden to no one. Respondent having been given actual and reasonable opportunity to explain or defend himself in due course. refused to appear for said conference. it cannot be rightly said that giving the President the power to remove a Deputy In the first instance. graft and corruption. interposing an objection based on the unfounded notion that this Office has prejudged the instant case. do not constitute betrayal of public trust. precisely. falling short of imposition upon him of the corresponding penalty of removal from office was based on the finding constitutional standards. Mendoza was admittedly able to file an Answer in which he had interposed his defenses to the formal based upon an unverified complaint-affidavit. namely: (1) that to elucidate upon his pleaded defenses by adamantly refusing to attend the scheduled Clarificatory the removal of the Deputy Ombudsman must be for any of the grounds provided for the removal Conference despite notice. Factual findings of administrative bodies are controlling when supported by substantial evidence. his inordinate haste in implementing P/S Insp.57 Mere opportunity to be heard is petitioner failed to supervise his subordinates to act with dispatch on the draft resolution of P/S sufficient. the OP concluded that: (1) submit any evidence he may have in support of his defense. his At the outset.56 Thus. To insulate the Office from outside pressure and improper influence. Mendoza's motion for reconsideration and thereby caused undue prejudice to P/S Insp. 55 Due process is simply having available remedies against the immediate implementation of the Decision dismissing him from the the opportunity to explain one's side. paragraph 1 of Section It bears noting that respondent Deputy Ombudsman Gonzalez was given two separate 8 of R. charge against him. the filing of subsequent filing of a motion for reconsideration." Thus. The OP recounted as follows - of the Ombudsman and (2) that there must be observance of due process. This Court based on substantial evidence. constitutional independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. the requirement of due In Espinosa v. the requirements of due process are satisfactorily complied with because what the law abhors is Mendoza by effectively depriving the latter of the right to challenge the dismissal before the courts an absolute lack of opportunity to be heard. Mendoza's case records to his office.on the President's exercise of such power of removal over a Deputy Ombudsman. treason. Despite due notice.A. the mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. however. therefore. limiting his defense through the filing of an Answer. 6770 states that the Deputy Ombudsman may be removed from office for the same opportunities to explain his side and answer the Formal Charge against him. or a Special Prosecutor for that matter. we now go to the substance of the administrative Deputy Ombudsman and a Special Prosecutor Section 8(2) of the Ombudsman Act. Gonzales.63 The OP's pronouncement of administrative accountability against petitioner and the Petitioner Gonzales may not be removed from office where the questioned acts. findings in OP Case No. grounds that the Ombudsman may be removed through impeachment. would diminish or compromise the documentary evidence.60 which is more than a mere scintilla and means such relevant evidence as a reasonable Ombudsman. the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of guilt is substantial The prosecution of offenses committed by public officers is vested in the Office of the evidence. Having now settled the question concerning the validity of the President's power to remove the Article XI. other high crimes. and respects the initiative which it is based. No.58 Besides. Insp. The OP held that petitioner's want of care and wrongful conduct consisted of his unexplained action in directing the PNP-NCR to elevate P/S Insp. ruling complained of. respondent Deputy Ombudsman discharge of their duties that their removal can only be had on grounds provided by law. his pronouncement proceeded with the administrative case against him despite his non-attendance thereat. Deputy Ombudsman Emilio A. or betrayal of public trust.61 The fact. and (2) petitioner showed undue interest by having P/S Insp. of gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct in office amounting to a betrayal of public trust."62 and independence inherent in the Ombudsman who. which opportunity respondent actually availed of. taking into consideration the factual determinations of the IIRC.54 the Court elucidated on the nature of the Ombudsman's process has been satisfied. It is. bribery. and his apparent unconcern that the pendency charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations of the motion for reconsideration for more than five months had deprived P/S Insp. petitioner only has himself to blame for and prevent its immediate execution. Petitioner of administrative liability and imposition of the extreme penalty of dismissal on P/S Insp.

treason.64 In the instant case. Mendoza's case to the Ombudsman without citing any reason therefor cannot. because if betrayal of public trust same cannot be considered a vicious and malevolent act warranting his removal for betrayal of encompasses the earlier acts that were enumerated. or error of law. the Court supplied) seriously doubts the correctness of the OP's conclusion that the imputed acts amount to gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct constitutive of betrayal of public trust. as well as betrayal of Betrayal of public trust is a new ground for impeachment under the 1987 Constitution added to public trust. treason."66 Indeed. inexcusable negligence of duty. will not constitute betrayal of only be set aside on proof of gross abuse of discretion. Records phrase. It cannot be solely attributed then to what petitioner Gonzales may have negligently failed to do for the quick. denied P/S Insp. where betrayal of public trust. the catch-all phrase betrayal of public trust that referred to "all acts not Prosecutor cannot diminish the seriousness of their nature nor the acuity of their scope. public trust if that statement will allay the fears of difficulty in interpreting the term. the graft and corruption or VIOLATION OF HIS OATH OF OFFICE". Similarly. treason."69 In other words. by itself. 2010 until he forwarded his that these constitute violations of the oath of office. More so because the neglect imputed upon petitioner appears to be an isolated case. and also I heard the Honorable Davide say recommendation to the Office of Ombudsman Gutierrez on May 6. Mendoza's case be judged based upon the resulting deaths at the am not a lawyer so I can anticipate the difficulties that a layman may encounter in understanding Quirino Grandstand. where The invariable rule is that administrative decisions in matters within the executive jurisdiction can circumstances may indicate that there is good faith. acts that should been reserved only for the most serious violations that justify the removal by impeachment of the constitute betrayal of public trust as to warrant removal from office may be less than criminal but highest officials of the land. "betrayal of public trust" in the 1986 Constitution. and gross exercise of discretionary powers. about this last provision or phrase. deliberating on some workable standard by which the ground could be reasonably interpreted. had favoritism. inexcusable negligence of duty. gross neglect of duty amounting to betrayal of public trust. The failure to immediately act upon a party's requests for an early resolution this provision and also the possible abuses that the legislature can commit in interpreting this of his case is not. Neither should petitioner's official trust" as embodying a ground for impeachment that has been raised by the Honorable Regalado. To say that The Constitutional Commission eventually found it reasonably acceptable for the phrase betrayal petitioner's offenses. including system failure of government response. bribery. removal of the Deputy Ombudsman or the Special Prosecutor for causes that. by itself. and gross exercise of discretionary powers. the Constitutional Commission recognized that human error and good faith precluded an adverse The tragic hostage-taking incident was the result of a confluence of several unfortunate events conclusion.65 the impreciseness of its definition also created apprehension that "such an Special Prosecutor from office. VILLACORTA: x x x One last matter with respect to the use of the words "betrayal of public the case. Mendoza's motion and an and conviction of. tyrannical abuse of power. to my mind. Gutierrez. It is to be noted that this ground was also suggested in the 1971 Constitutional show that petitioner took considerably less time to act upon the draft resolution after the same Convention. fair and complete resolution of MR. bribery. legislature could not have intended to redefine constitutional standards of culpable violation of the Constitution. this should remain true even for purposes of removing a Deputy Ombudsman and oath of office. In order to avoid confusion. the release of any final order on the case was no longer in his hands. I understand from the earlier discussions from the time the draft resolution was submitted to him on April 27. or to his error of judgment in the disposition thereof. 2010 for the latter's final that even the criminal acts that were enumerated in the earlier 1973 provision on this matter action. the Ombudsman and a Special Prosecutor vis-a-vis common administrative offenses. I acts in the resolution of P/S Insp. theretofore. Mendoza's motion for reconsideration within nine (9) calendar days reckoned favoritism. Hence. weigh heavily enough to constitute betrayal of of public trust to refer to "acts which are just short of being criminal but constitute gross public trust would be to ignore the significance of the legislature's intent in prescribing the faithlessness against public trust. nonetheless. the fact that the grounds for impeachment have been made overarching standard may be too broad and may be subject to abuse and arbitrary exercise by the statutory grounds for the removal by the President of a Deputy Ombudsman and Special legislature. render the officer unfit to continue in of public trust could not suddenly "overreach" to cover acts that are not vicious or malevolent on office"67 could be easily utilized for every conceivable misconduct or negligence in office. would it not be clearer to stick to the wording of Section 2 which reads: "may be removed from office on impeachment for Even if there was inordinate delay in the resolution of P/S Insp. the same level as the other grounds for impeachment. for purposes of the existing grounds of culpable violation of the Constitution. Betrayal punishable by statutes as penal offenses but. graft and impeachment. Besides. However. culpable violation of the Constitution. Hence. Clearly.Insp. was not intended to cover all kinds of official wrongdoing and plain errors of corruption and other high crimes. Mendoza on the basis of the unverified complaint-affidavit of the alleged victim Christian MR. must be attended by bad faith and of such gravity and seriousness as the other grounds for impeachment. constitute betrayal of public trust as well. it was was submitted for his appropriate action compared to the length of time that said draft remained construed as encompassing acts which are just short of being criminal but constitute gross pending and unacted upon in the Office of Ombudsman Merceditas N. be considered a manifestation of . A review of the Journals of that Convention will show that it was not included."68 (Emphasis while the evidence may show some amount of wrongdoing on the part of petitioner. bribery. While it was deemed broad enough to cover any violation of the judgment. He reviewed and faithlessness against public trust. Would every negligent act or misconduct in the performance of a Deputy Ombudsman's duties constitute betrayal of public trust warranting immediate removal from office? The question calls A Deputy Ombudsman and a Special Prosecutor are not impeachable officers. by for a deeper. other high crimes. tyrannical abuse of power. petitioner's act of directing the PNP-IAS to endorse P/S Insp. circumspective look at the nature of the grounds for the removal of a Deputy providing for their removal from office on the same grounds as removal by impeachment. But I would like him to know that we are amenable to any possible amendment. I think plain error of judgment. then it would behoove us to be equally clear public trust. graft and corruption. and other high crimes. as they factually appear. unexplained failure on petitioner's part to supervise his subordinates in its prompt disposition. NOLLEDO: x x x I think we will miss a golden opportunity if we fail to adopt the words Kalaw. fraud. However. and apply them less stringently.

in this Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) . while he may be vested with authority. Mendoza even lesser offenses.72 dated December 16. In the motivation. 2010 Resolution had been substantially complied with. After all.00. There was likewise no Major General Garcia's ill-gotten properties.). the Court deems it appropriate to refer the case act of the others. the Sandiganbayan allowed him to post bail in both cases. While the court's determination of the propriety of a plea bargain is on the basis of the existing prosecution evidence on record. be dismissed since the charges against them are anchored on the same charges against the Principal Accused. considering the OP's factual findings MGen. No. in order to put into effect the reversion of any of the parties to the case that could have impelled him to act as he did. neglect or willfulness on the part of the prosecution. case considering the lack of evidence of any personal grudge. Upon Major General Garcia's motion. if not. 2010 his readiness for petitioner as Deputy Ombudsman. Prosecutor Barreras-Sulit. as to the terms of the PLEBARA as approved by the Sandiganbayan. that petitioner is relieved of all liability for his acts showing less than diligent performance of official duties. there being no intentional wrongdoing of the grave and serious sentencing and for the withdrawal of the criminal information against his wife and two sons. the President. it would be premature to charge her with acts and/or omissions best interest and the diligent and efficient performance by the prosecution of its public duty to "tantamount to culpable violations of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. Inasmuch as there is as yet no existing ground justifying his removal from office. paragraph (e) of Republic Act No. 2010 and filed with the Sandiganbayan. and with the express conformity of the OSP. informed the Sandiganbayan that its May 4. if any. the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) informed the Sandiganbayan that an Order70 had been issued by the Regional Trial Court of Manila. or of any corrupt intention or questionable cause the transfer of ownership of said properties to the Republic of the Philippines. however. each at a measly amount of ₱ 30. 2010 Accordingly. cannot order the removal of Major General Garcia manifested71 to the Sandiganbayan on November 19. 9160. Immediately after the OSP the findings of neglect of duty or misconduct in office do not amount to a betrayal of public trust." which are prosecute crimes against the State. petitioner Barreras-Sulit asserts that the propriety of taking and continuing to take administrative disciplinary proceeding against her must depend on the final disposition by the Sandiganbayan of the PLEBARA. in failing to pursue or build a strong case for the government or. bargaining agreement is the allowance of an accused to plead guilty to a lesser offense than that . On May 4. 2010. Therefore. ordered the corresponding government agencies to evidence at all of any bribery that took place. more particularly petitioner Special and which also constitute a violation of Section 3. the charges against the Co-Accused should likewise and the imposition of the corresponding administrative sanctions. grounds for removal from office under Section 8. taking The argument will not hold water. on the other hand. has been resisting the President's authority to remove the disciplinary authority's determination of the prosecutor's administrative liability is based on her from office upon the averment that without the Sandiganbayan's final approval and judgment whether the plea bargain is consistent with the conscientious consideration of the government's on the basis of the PLEBARA. On August 11. reads: This is not to say. and the constitutional mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman to be the "champion of the people. paragraph (2) of the Ombudsman Act of 1989. explaining that if the Sandiganbayan would uphold the PLEBARA.73 The essence of a plea ripe for the determination of her failings. then the situation becomes mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject to court approval. enumerated therein. the disciplining authority's finding of ineptitude. with the approval by the Honorable Court of the Plea Bargaining to the Office of the Ombudsman for further investigation of the charges in OP Case No. that the decision was of plea under the PLEBARA was warranted and that it complied with jurisprudential guidelines. entering into an agreement which the government finds "grossly disadvantageous. 10-J-460 Agreement executed by the Principal Accused. the OP's pronouncement of administrative accountability against petitioner and the allowing the transfer of the accused's frozen accounts to the Republic of the Philippines pursuant imposition upon him of the corresponding penalty of dismissal must be reversed and set aside. Garcia (AFP Ret.0 The Co-Accused were impleaded under the theory of conspiracy with the Principal Accused short of the constitutional standard of betrayal of public trust. R. Hence.000. (Principal Accused) with the allegation that the act of one is the of negligence and misconduct against petitioner. thereafter. Although the administrative acts imputed to petitioner fall 1.A. 2010. or that the motion for reconsideration thereof remained pending for Sandiganbayan. Carlos F." that the only thing which remains to be done by the Sandiganbayan is to promulgate a judgment The factual circumstances that the case was turned over to the Office of the Ombudsman upon imposing the proper sentence on the accused Major General Garcia based on his new pleas to petitioner's request. advantage or preference through manifest partiality. the Sandiganbayan allowed accused Major General Garcia to plead guilty backwages and benefits corresponding to the period of his suspension. 3019 (Anti. meantime. the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution declaring that the change without the private complainant verifying the truth of his statements. The approval or disapproval of the PLEBARA by the Sandiganbayan is of no consequence to an administrative finding of liability against petitioner Barreras-Sulit. Consequently. social ties or business affiliation with 2010. Branch 21 on November 5. The incidents that have taken place subsequent to the cognizance of cases upon the request of concerned agencies or private parties is part and parcel of submission in court of the PLEBARA shows that the PLEBARA has been practically approved. Plea bargaining is a process in criminal cases whereby the accused and the prosecution work out a there would no longer be any cause of complaint against her. both real and personal. the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution. as amended. to the lesser offenses of direct bribery and violation of Section 4(b). Major kind amounting to a betrayal of public trust. antecedent. evident bad result in administrative liability. The Office of the President is vested with statutory authority to proceed administratively against petitioner Barreras-Sulit to determine the existence of any of the grounds for her removal from office as provided for under the Constitution and the Ombudsman Act.causing undue injury to the Government or giving any private case. The immediately implemented." could party any unwarranted benefits. With reference to the doctrine of prejudicial procedural entered into. directed the accused Major General Garcia to immediately convey in more than nine months cannot be simply taken as evidence of petitioner's undue interest in the favor of the State all the properties. which.his undue interest in the case that would amount to wrongful or unlawful conduct. General Garcia's Motion to Dismiss. Petitioner Barreras-Sulit. notwithstanding court approval of the plea bargaining agreement faith or gross inexcusable negligence. petitioner is entitled to reinstatement to his former position as Deputy Ombudsman and to the payment of On December 16. that administrative liability was pronounced against P/S Insp.

in G. Cir. 196231. Petitioner Emilio A. Rule 12 of the Internal Rules of the Court.R. the disciplining authority would be hard-pressed not to look into the whys and wherefores of the prosecution's turnabout in the case. it was equally divided in its opinion on the constitutionality of the assailed statutory provision in its two deliberations held on April 17. WHEREFORE. 2. if the basis for the allowance of a plea bargain in this case is the evidence on record. No. Section 4(2)." Notwithstanding this earlier ruling by the Sandiganbayan. then it is significant to state that in its earlier Resolution75 promulgated on January 7. There being no majority vote to invalidate the law. the OSP.At arraignment. chose to plea bargain with the accused Major General Garcia as if its evidence were suddenly insufficient to secure a conviction. The Court need not touch further upon the substantial matters that are the subject of the pending administrative proceeding against petitioner Barreras-Sulit and are. unexplainably."76Hence. keeping said provision part of the law of the land. Indeed. 2012. Gonzales III is ordered REINSTATED with payment of backwages corresponding to the period of suspension effective immediately. Rule 116 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides the 11-B-003 against Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit for alleged acts and omissions procedure therefor. in accordance with Section 8(2) of the Ombudsman Act of 1989. these cases involve two distinct issues: (a) the constitutionality of Section 8(2) of the Ombudsman Act. While the Court voted unanimously to reverse the decision of the OP removing petitioner Gonzales from office. better left to the complete and effective resolution of the administrative case before the Office of the President. offense which is necessarily included in the offense charged. and (b) the validity of the administrative action of removal taken against petitioner Gonzales. in light of the apparently strong case against accused Major General Garcia. Section 2. 196232. not guilty. the accused. nonetheless. No amendment of the complaint or information is necessary. 10-J- 460 isREVERSED and SET ASIDE.74 However. even as the Office of the Ombudsman is directed to proceed with the investigation in connection with the above case against petitioner. it is not amiss to emphasize that the "standard of strong evidence of guilt which is sufficient to deny bail to an accused is markedly higher than the standard of judicial probable cause which is sufficient to initiate a criminal case. -. with the consent of the offended party and the prosecutor. therefore. the Sandiganbayan had evaluated the testimonies of twenty (20) prosecution witnesses and declared that "the conglomeration of evidence presented by the prosecution is viewed by the Court to be of strong character that militates against the grant of bail. Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution requires the vote of the majority of the Members of the Court actually taking part in the deliberation to sustain any challenge to the constitutionality or validity of a statute or any of its provisions. SEC. The challenge to the constitutionality of Section 8(2) of the Ombudsman Act has.R. thus.charged against him. dismisses the challenge to the constitutionality of Section 8(2) of the Ombudsman Act in accordance with Section 2(d). 2010. 2012 and September 4. . (Sec. the Court. To recall. Plea of guilty to a lesser offense. We AFFIRM the continuation of OP-DC Case No. thus. the accused may still be allowed to plead guilty to said lesser offense after withdrawing his plea of SO ORDERED. At this juncture. the decision of the Office of the President in OP Case No. 38-98) Plea bargaining is allowable when the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to establish the guilt of the accused of the crime charged. to wit: tantamount to culpable violation of the Constitution and a betrayal of public trust. failed to obtain the necessary votes to invalidate the law. No. may be allowed by the trial court to plead guilty to a lesser The challenge to the constitutionality of Section 8(2) of the Ombudsman Act is hereby DENIED. 4. After arraignment but before trial. In G.

Section 8(2) of Republic Act (RA) No.3 vs. who had not then been dismissed and who simply sought to restrain the disciplinary On February 16.13 460 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. On July 2. et al. November 5. solely questioned the jurisdiction of the OP to subject her to disciplinary forwarded the entire records to the Office of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for her proceedings. .R.: against Mendoza. On December 14. 2008. imposed on them the penalty of dismissal from the service. AMORANDO.5 We resolve the Office of the President's (OP 's) motion for reconsideration of our September 4.G. ACTING THROUGH AND REPRESENTED BY In view of the Court’s ruling. et al. SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY JOSE Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). FROILAN D. CARLO D. 2014 ll-B-003 against Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit for alleged acts and omissions tantamount to culpable violation of the Constitution and a betrayal of public trust. 1 O-J. Clarence Guinto filed an administrative charge for grave misconduct with the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) PNP-NCRPO BRION.11 The fallo of our assailed Decision reads: Mendoza. The Court affirmed the continuation of the proceedings against her after upholding review. GERON. No. GONZALES III. reversed the OP ruling that: (i) found Gonzales guilty of Gross substantiate his allegations. OFFICER-IN-CHARGE .4 DECISION On May 29. Christian Kalaw filed separate charges with the Philippine National Police JR. a. JR. x-----------------------x I. Petitioner Emilio A. ORTIZ.R. 2009.R. followed by a Supplement to the Motion for Reconsideration. in compliance with his Order. above case against petitioner. in accordance EMILIO A. 2008. No. We briefly narrate the facts that preceded the filing of the petitions and the present motion for CARLITO D. robbery extortion and physical injury. 2008).R.) for robbery. 2008. et al. DIR. the Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 8(2) of RA No. filed a motion for reconsideration12 on WHEREFORE.’s case (on August 26. Factual antecedents vs. and (ii) imposed on dismissal without prejudice of the administrative case against Mendoza. 2008.7 In the challenged Decision. Police Senior Superintendent Atty. reconsideration. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES.OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. Respondents. on October 17. 196231. JR. ANTECEDENTS G. ATTY. the OP filed the present motion for reconsideration through the EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. IN THEIR CAPACITIES AS CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF OFFICE OF MALACANANG LEGAL Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) and with the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office against Manila Police AFFAIRS. 196232. 2009. OCHOA. ATTY. grave threat. Petitioner. ROWENA TURINGAN-SANCHEZ. 196231 January 28. CATAYONG.2 filed their position papers with Gonzales. Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Officers 2012 Decision1which ruled on the petitions filed by Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III and (MOLEO). 2009. 2008. even as On December 10. DENNIS F. Prosecution and Administrative Bureau-MOLEO. AND ATTY. Mendoza. Their petitions challenged the constitutionality of Office of the Regional Director of the NAPOLCOM duly complied on July 24. et al.. District Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza and four others (Mendoza. received a copy of the Ombudsman’s decision that approved Gonzales’ recommendation on October 30. PAQUITO N. after preparing a draft decision on Mendoza. Gonzales. et al. The Court. however. the MOLEO-Records Section forwarded Mendoza. In G. No. OCHOA. AMOR M. et al. Gonzales proceedings against her. J. for his failure to Prosecutor.’s case records to the Office of the Ombudsman is directed to proceed with the investigation in connection with the the Criminal Investigation. for Kalaw’s failure to him the penalty of dismissal. ATTY. the PNP-IAS recommended the Neglect of Duty and Grave Misconduct constituting betrayal of public trust.8 Similarly.10 In his draft decision. We AFFIRM the continuation of OP-DC Case No. 6770.. the Office of the City and ruled that the President has disciplinary jurisdiction over a Deputy Ombudsman and a Special Prosecutor of Manila City dismissed Kalaw’s complaint against Mendoza. 196231) WENDELL BARRERAS-SULIT Petitioner. 2009..R. No. ATTY. guilty of grave misconduct and the constitutionality of Section 8(2) of RA No. 6770. the decision of the Office of the President in OP Case No.6 Mendoza. MONTALBAN. et al. with Section 8(2) of the Ombudsman Act of 1989. SULAY AND ATTY. directed the NAPOLCOM to turn over the records of Mendoza’s case to his office.9 Sulit. The Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit. in G. 6770 Pending Gonzales’ action on Mendoza. et al. Gonzales’ petition (G. On May 26. et al.Respondents. No.’s case. 196232 A. et al. Gonzales found Mendoza. RONALDO A. Gonzales III is ordered REINSTATED with payment of backwages corresponding to the period of suspension effective immediately. based on the same allegations made by Kalaw before the PNP-IAS. prosecute. et al. IN HIS CAP A CITY AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY.

real and personal properties enumerated in the Agreement and the bank deposits alleged in the information. Gonzales reviewed the draft and endorsed the order.21According to the OP. the period it . it is the Ombudsman who exercises apply to Sulit as the grant of independence is solely with respect to the Office of the Ombudsman administrative disciplinary jurisdiction over the Deputy Ombudsman. he would convey to the government his ownership.23 GIPO Garcia released a draft order15 to his immediate superior.14 within nine (9) calendars days from his receipt of the order. entered into a plea bargaining agreement (Agreement) with Garcia. it ended tragically."18 The IIRC recommended the referral of its findings to the OP for further The apparent one-sidedness of the Agreement drew public outrage and prompted the Committee determination of possible administrative offenses and for the initiation of the proper on Justice of the House of Representatives to conduct an investigation. this conclusion does not Deputy Ombudsman. 2010. Since the draft order on Mendoza’s motion for A. The OP ruling Accordingly. Sulit filed her Written Explanation. Garcia and several case records. 2010 First Report. since he himself acted on the draft order only review and recommendation. Under Section 21 of RA No. in view of the strength of the prosecution’s hijacked a tourist bus and held the 21 foreign tourists and the four Filipino tour assistants on board evidence against Garcia. for B. While the government exerted earnest attempts to peacefully resolve the hostage- taking. (As the full explanation of the Court’s vote describes below. resulting in the deaths of Mendoza and several others on board the On February 25. 6770. approved it. pending final action by the Ombudsman on Mendoza. the Court votes to grant Gonzales’ petition and to declare Section 8(2) of RA No. creating an Incident exchange. the Office of the Ombudsman.16 others. 2011. on May 6. 196232) appropriate action on April 5. which does not include the Office of the Special Prosecutor under the Constitution. [Mendoza’s] Motion for Reconsideration [‘that spanned for nine (9) long months’] xxx amounted prompting Sulit to seek relief from this Court. and transmitted it to the Office of the Ombudsman for final approval. Cecilio signed and forwarded the draft order to Gonzales’ office on April 27. et al. President Benigno C. through Sulit and her prosecutorial staff.19 Committee found that Sulit. 01-2010. On May 7.R. Marvic Mario Victor Leonen). questioning the OP’s jurisdiction. the OP initiated an administrative disciplinary proceeding against Sulit. 2010. on October 15. Dir.28The Committee recommended to the President the dismissal from the service of Sulit and of Duty and/or Inefficiency in the Performance of Official Duty and for Misconduct in Office.’s case."17 The IIRC The Sandiganbayan approved the Agreement on May 4. and (ii) withdraw his plea of not guilty to the charge of money Department of Interior and Local Government to conduct a joint thorough investigation of the laundering and enter a guilty plea to the lesser offense of facilitating money laundering. 2010. 29 On March On March 31. the Office of the Ombudsman charged Major General Carlos F. b. the administrative proceedings. Sulit’s petition (G. On the merits. "without justification and despite repeated pleas" xxx "precipitated the desperate resort to hostage-taking. Cecilio. 2010. Aquino III directed the Department of Justice and the offense of indirect bribery. the OP found Gonzales guilty as charged and dismissed him from the 24. together with the In April 2005. 2010. 2010. the OP set the case for preliminary investigation on April 15. Garcia filed an Urgent Petition for Bail which the prosecution opposed. On May 6. 2010 for the final approval by the Ombudsman. before the Sandiganbayan. hijacked bus. to gross neglect of duty" and "constituted a flagrant disregard of the Office of the Ombudsman’s own Rules of Procedure. In incident. he completed his review of the draft.24 Garcia thereby agreed to: (i) withdraw his plea of not guilty to the charge of plunder and enter a plea of guilty to the lesser In the aftermath. review and approval.25 In its September 16. 2010. 2011.2009. with plunder and money laundering. 201026 based on the parties’ submitted stated that the Ombudsman and Gonzales’ failure to promptly resolve Mendoza’s motion for Joint Motion for Approval. as hostages. The Petition On motion for reconsideration and further reflection. Preliminary considerations: reconsideration had to undergo different levels of preparation. No. the IIRC found the Ombudsman and Gonzales accountable for their "gross negligence and grave misconduct in handling the case against Mendoza. 2007. COURT’S RULING c. Mendoza Garcia's urgent petition for bail on January 7. Director Eulogio S. 30 The question of service. 2010. the case was assigned to Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer (GIPO) Dennis Garcia for took to resolve the motion could not be unjustified. her deputies and assistants committed culpable violations of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust – grounds for removal under Section 8(2) of RA No. rights and other interests over the Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC). Accordingly. "the inordinate and unjustified delay in the resolution of jurisdiction notwithstanding. The two departments issued Joint Department Order No. After public hearings. 6770 unconstitutional with respect to the Office of the Gonzales posited in his petition that the OP has no administrative disciplinary jurisdiction over a Ombudsman."22 II. 2011. The prevailing ruling on this latter point is embodied in the Concurring and Dissenting Opinion of J. Gonzales was formally charged before the OP for Gross Neglect 6770.20 the filing of appropriate charges against her deputies and assistants before the appropriate government office. Gonzales argued that his office received the draft order from GIPO Garcia on April 27. The Sandiganbayan denied On August 23.27 reconsideration.

serve them with utmost responsibility. 6770 provides: To be sure. the Court is duty-bound to intervene under the powers and duties granted government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries. A justiciable question is one which is inherently accountable to the people. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption. . When the Office of the Tanodbayan was reorganized in 1979. its independence was expressly and In other words. the Court notes that Gonzales and Sulit did not file a motion for reconsideration of Pursuant to the 1973 Constitution. Article anchored on the final and correct ruling on the constitutional issue. however. abusive. since the validity of the OP’s decision on the merits of the dismissal is inextricably constitutionally guaranteed. if these actions are reasonably in line with its official function and consistent with the law Prior to the 1973 Constitution. at all times. on complaint or motu proprio. the whole case – including the II35 and the standard of accountability in public service under Section 1. we do not inquire into the wisdom of the Congress’ choice to grant function essentially as a complaints and action bureau. Unlike in the 1973 Constitution. abuses and excesses of the bureaucracy. through the OSG. Our inquiry is limited to whether such statutory Ombudsman practically intends to make the Ombudsman an authority to directly check and guard grant violates the Constitution. Official Subject to Disciplinary Authority. It was tasked principally to investigate. however. The justiciability of the constitutional issue raised in the petitions Section 27. Public officers and employees must. If the President does not have any constitutional Sandiganbayan. instrumentalities and agencies. any administrative act of any administrative agency. XI of the Constitution. constitutional intents. be known as Tanodbayan. these agencies failed to fully realize their The Ombudsman’s broad investigative and disciplinary powers include all acts of malfeasance. a. Public office is a public trust. Art. 1607 and PD No. loyalty. more so when the authority runs counter to a core constitutional principle and subdivisions. neither the Executive nor the Legislative can create the power that Section 8(2) of RA Section 21. President Ferdinand Marcos enacted Presidential Decree (PD) the Court’s September 4. The Philippine Ombudsman although not squarely falling under the broad powers granted it by the Constitution and by RA No. Pursuant to Section 13(8).38 serve as the people's medium for airing grievances and for direct redress against abuses and misconduct in the government. Absence of motion for reconsideration on the part of the petitioners It was under the 1973 Constitution that the Office of the Ombudsman became a constitutionally- mandated office to give it political independence and adequate powers to enforce its mandate. and control the prosecution of these cases. particularly whether Section 8(2) of RA No. as amended by PD No. the Constitution saw it fit to insulate the Office of the Ombudsman from the pressures and influence of officialdom and partisan politics and from fear of external reprisal by making it an "independent" office. Constitution. — The Office of the Ombudsman No. that the issue of whether a Deputy Ombudsman may be subjected to the administrative disciplinary jurisdiction of the President (concurrently with that of the Ombudsman) Section 1.33 Executive officers. 6770. To support these broad powers. 6770 violates the core against the ills. too. including any government-owned or controlled corporation. and nonfeasance of all public officials."37 the Court has upheld its actions. Article XI of the constitutional principle of the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman as expressed in 1987 Constitution. 2012 Decision. 1487. 36 This constitutional vision of a Philippine concurrent disciplinary authority to the President. past presidents established several Ombudsman-like agencies to and the Constitution. the powers This omission. Article XI of the 1987 constitutional issue – remains alive for the Court’s consideration on motion for reconsideration. moved for the No. to In resolving the petitions. susceptible of being decided on grounds recognized by law. [emphasis ours. integrity. including Members of the Cabinet and key function as government critic. When exercised authority is drawn from a shall have disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the Government and its vacuum. italics supplied] B. poses no obstacle for the Court’s review of its ruling on the whole case previously vested in the Special Prosecutor were transferred to the Tanodbayan himself.31 as where the court finds that there act with patriotism and justice. He was since a serious constitutional question has been raised and is one of the underlying bases for the given the exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the validity or invalidity of the presidential action. and corrupt in the Government. Its objectives are to enforce the state policy in Section 27. only the OP. Section 5. including Members of the Cabinet. and efficiency.a. then any ruling on the legal correctness of the OP’s decision on the merits will be an empty one. creating the Office of the Ombudsman to reconsideration of our ruling reinstating Gonzales. At the outset.34 authority to discipline a Deputy Ombudsman and/or a Special Prosecutor in the first place. 6770 grants where the Constitution confers none. be is a justiciable – not a political – question. except over officials who and imposed on it by Article VIII of the Constitution. the Office of the Ombudsman is envisioned to be the "protector of the people" against the inept. and the Judiciary. Congress enacted RA No. Constitution. local government. Section 21 of RA No.32 Under Section 12. objective for lack of the political independence necessary for the effective performance of their misfeasance. We clarify. Exceptions. 6770 to enable it to further realize the vision of the Section 5. With the advent of the 1987 Constitution. during their tenure. 1630. The Deputy Ombudsman: Constitutional Issue As the Ombudsman is expected to be an "activist watchman. are constitutionally-imposed limits on the exercise of the powers conferred on a political branch of the government. Article XI of the 1987 Constitution. file the corresponding information. These provisions read: b. a new Office of the Ombudsman was created by constitutional fiat. Ultimately. may be removed only by impeachment or over Members of Congress. and lead modest lives.

we all know how political fortunes come and go. the delegates amended the 1935 Constitution by even if they discharge functions that are executive in nature. We see the merits of the arguments of Commissioner Rodrigo. xxx Very often. is not subject to pressure or control from the present political leadership. but are created by the Constitution itself. the Office of the Ombudsman is a very powerful our concept. In fact. However. Visayas. the framers of the 1987 Constitution clearly expressed their desire to keep the Luzon. Yorac. instead of one created by law.42 involving the fiscal autonomy of the Judiciary. Drilon. In Brillantes.45 The Judiciary. Very often Commissions shares certain characteristics – they do not owe their existence to any act of these are private organizations. 40 not only the cooperation of the executive branch of the government but also of the judicial branch of government. Senator Salonga. There is hereby created the independent Office of the Ombudsman. jurisprudence is not scarce on how the "independence" granted to these bodies independence and separation of powers upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional system prevents presidential interference. Those who are in power yesterday are interference that the President may bring and maintained that the independence and the flexibility in opposition today and those who are in power today may be in the opposition tomorrow. which have been The constitutional deliberations explain the Constitutional Commissions’ need for independence. to defend the rights of individuals against arrest. they all enjoy fiscal autonomy. We also would like to build in some "independent. additionally.44 In Bautista v. The position of the government constitutional agency that is considered "a notch above other grievance-handling committee is that we need a body that would be able to work and cooperate with the executive investigative bodies. The lack of fiscal autonomy Ombudsman to be known as Tanodbayan. A separate Deputy for the military establishment may likewise be Commission independent from the executive branch and other political leaders: appointed. what we are proposing is an independent body on human general terms. the Constitution also created an "independent" Commission on Human Rights. GARCIA. and so on. when international commissions or organizations on human rights go Notably. that are commensurate because the Commissioner is right. and Mindanao."41The extent of the independence enjoyed by these constitutional bodies however safeguards that it will not be rendered useless by an uncooperative executive. the Constitutional Commissions and the Office of the Ombudsman are crucial to Therefore. The Court declared as providing for a constitutionally-created Civil Service Commission. "Independence" of constitutional bodies vis-a-vis the Ombudsman’s independence very cooperative. v. characterized under the Constitution as "independent. both constitutional and statutory. the framers of the Constitution intended that these "independent" bodies be rights. unfair trial. we are willing to accept suggestions from Commissioner Rodrigo on how to reconcile this. several constitutional bodies have been expressly labeled as We realize the need for coordination and cooperation. which would provide governments with credibility precisely because it is independent of the insulated from political pressure to the extent that the absence of "independence" would result in present administration. [emphasis ours] MR." are not under the control of the President. if we have a Commission on Human Rights that would investigate and make sure that our legal system. the rights of each one is protected. We also want a commission to function even under the worst circumstance when the executive may not be b. Many of the services needed by this commission would need with its daunting task of enforcing accountability of public officers. Jr. as follows: Notably. many of which are prosecuted. MONSOD. the most credible organizations are independent human rights bodies. we ruled against the Secondly. In the deliberations of the 1973 Constitution. Under the Constitution. Whatever it says on the human rights situation will be credible because it the impairment of their core functions. This is going to be a permanent constitutional commission over time. the question in our mind is: Can it still function during that time? Hence. and second.Article XI of the Constitution expressed this intent.43 In a similar manner. MR. of the Judiciary. the independence enjoyed by the Office of the Ombudsman and by the Constitutional to a country. then we shall have a body that could stand up to any power. the functions performed or the powers involved in a given case. the Constitutional Commissions. composed of the autonomy is granted to the constitutional commissions. In Bengzon v. such as those we find in many Congress. consistency of any allowable xxxx interference to these powers and functions."39 It has powers. the deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the Commission on Audit highlighted the developments in the past Constitutions geared towards insulating the Commission on Audit from political pressure. varies and is to be interpreted with two significant considerations in mind: first. he can advise us on how to reconcile his position with ours. is based.46 we emphasized that the Constitutional Commissions. one overall Deputy and at least one Deputy each for notwithstanding. on unconstitutional the President’s act of temporarily appointing the respondent in that case as the premise that the effectivity of this body is dependent on its freedom from the tentacles of Acting Chairman of the Comelec "however well-meaning"47 it might have been. politics. with the principle of checks and balances. At least insofar as these bodies are express mandate of the Constitution but especially as regards the Supreme Court. The imposition of restrictions These deliberative considerations abundantly show that the independent constitutional and constraints on the manner the independent constitutional offices allocate and utilize the funds commissions have been consistently intended by the framers to be independent from executive appropriated for their operations is anathema to fiscal autonomy and violative not only the control or supervision or any form of political influence. although it enjoys a lesser degree of independence since it is not granted fiscal autonomy in the manner fiscal Section 5. and the Ombudsman must have the independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of their constitutional duties.48 the Court categorically stated that the tenure of the commissioners of the independent Commission on Human Rights could not be placed under the discretionary power of the President: . If we explain to him Given the scope of its disciplinary authority. In countries in Latin America. of the concerned.

by express constitutional Ombudsman would be susceptible to political pressure. 6770 for power over them. that the the Office of the Ombudsman itself. Executive Order No. 6770. OPLE. efficiency of the public service and the integrity of the President of the Philippines. Equally relevant is the impression that would be given to the public if the In more concrete terms. A complainant with a grievance against a high-ranking official of the by the President. in protecting the independence of the Constitutional Commissions. For these reasons. certiorari. .51 The following exchanges between Commissioners Blas Ople and function with independence and effectiveness. given the duty to adjudicate on the integrity and competence of the very persons who can remove or suspend its members. MONSOD. Comelec. on one hand. The Committee discussed that during our committee deliberations and when we but is similar in degree and kind – to the independence similarly guaranteed by the Constitution to prepared the report. the Court finds it extremely difficult to conceptualize how an office conceived and created The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission on the independence of the Ombudsman fully by the Constitution to be independent – as the Commission on Human Rights – and vested with support this position. or to exercise any speak for themselves as overwhelming reasons to invalidate Section 8(2) of RA No. but inevitably d. 6770 exactly did. includes its key officials. By so doing. to no one on the pretext that it is a constitutional body? The kind of independence enjoyed by the Office of the Ombudsman certainly cannot be inferior – MR. who appears to enjoy the President’s favor.52 Our discussions. such an mandate. xxx Again. pinpointing his apprehension that any form of presidential control over the Office of the Ombudsman would responsibility and recommending sanctions as well as remedial measures therefor. the complainant’s impression (even if misplaced). 6770 (providing that the President may remove a Deputy Ombudsman) should be to cover up the misdeeds of her Deputies can be questioned before the Court on appeal or declared void. The Office of the Ombudsman. Commissioner Florenz Regalado of the Constitutional Commission expressed the delicate and vital functions of investigating violations of human rights. On the one hand.49 the Court considered even the mere review of the rules of May I direct a question to the Committee? xxx [W]ill the Committee consider later an amendment the Commission on Elections by Congress a "trampling" of the constitutional mandate of xxx. Unfortunately.Indeed. Section 8(2) of RA No. Section 8(2) of RA No. This need this concern stands on shaky grounds since it ignores the existing checks and balances already in for complete trust is true in an ideal setting and truer still in a young democracy like the Philippines place. Therefore. when the tenure in office of its Chairman and Christian Monsod further reveal the constitutional intent to keep the Office of the Ombudsman Members is made dependent on the pleasure of the President. agents of the Ombudsman in the performance of their duties. all of them tasked to support the Ombudsman in carrying out impression would erode the constitutional intent of creating an Office of the Ombudsman as her mandate. the Ombudsman’s attempt 8(2) of RA No. yet the Court struck down the law as unconstitutional. by way of designating the office of the Ombudsman as a constitutional arm for good independence of this body. The same attempt can likewise subject her to impeachment. it should be added that she is. we regret that we cannot accept the proposition. cannot but seriously place at risk the independence of the Ombudsman with his complaint. power to remove and discipline key officials of the Office of the Ombudsman. on a constitutional body than the Executive’s power to discipline and remove key officials of the instead of creating another agency in a kind of administrative limbo which would be accountable Office of the Ombudsman. whose own alter egos and officials in the Executive Department are subject to Executive. in Atty. the mere review of rules places considerably less pressure government. Macalintal v. 6770 with the principle of checks and balances that the creation of an Ombudsman office seeks to revitalize. and those expressed by the framers of the 1987 The statements made by Commissioner Monsod emphasized a very logical principle: the Executive Constitution. injustice and impropriety are in the executive department. MR. can truly diminish its independence.50 culprits in inefficiency. The mutual-protection argument for crafting Section 8(2)of RA No. as we saw the wrong implementation of the Tanodbayan which was under the tremendous influence of c. To be sure. being independent from the President: antithetical to the constitutional mandate of independence for the Commission on Human Rights has to be declared unconstitutional. On the other hand. would result in an absurd situation wherein the Office of the Ombudsman is violating the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can hardly be expected to place her complete trust in her subordinate officials who are not as independent as While the preceding discussion already suffices to address this concern. if only because they are subject to pressures and controls external to her Office. we rule that subjecting the Deputy Ombudsman to discipline and removal rule were otherwise. Therefore. on the other. the Ombudsman’s Deputies cannot protect the Ombudsman because she where graft and corruption is still a major problem for the government. Obviously. cannot be avoided. The Deputy Ombudsman violates the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman and is thus whole purpose of our proposal is precisely to separate those functions and to produce a vehicle unconstitutional that will give true meaning to the concept of Ombudsman. it was an ineffectual body and was reduced to the function of a special fiscal. 6770 vesting disciplinary authority in the President over the the President. intrusion upon the constitutionally-granted independence is what champion of the people against corruption and bureaucracy. Congress apparently addressed the concern that a lack of an external check against the Deputy Ombudsman would result in mutual protection between the What is true for the Ombudsman must be equally and necessarily true for her Deputies who act as Ombudsman and her Deputies. In crafting Section 8(2) of RA No. it was the opinion of the Committee — and I believe it still is — that it may the Constitutional Commissions since all these offices fill the political interstices of a republican not contribute to the effectiveness of this office of the Ombudsman precisely because many of the democracy that are crucial to its existence and proper functioning. 163-A. the law directly collided not only with the independence that the Constitution guarantees to the Office of the Ombudsman. particularly the Court’s expressed caution against presidential interference with the constitutional commissions. would be discouraged from approaching the Ombudsman’s disciplinary authority. Section is subject to the impeachment power of Congress.

the core constitutional principle of independence is observed and any the Executive or Congress – and is in full accord with constitutional intent.54 Understandably so. even assuming that the OP has disciplinary authority over the Deputy Ombudsman. The mere filing of an echelons of responsibility in our government. the authority granted by the Constitution to Congress to provide for the manner and political independent body mandated by the Constitution to settle judicial and quasi-judicial cause of removal of all other public officers and employees does not mean that Congress can disputes. possible absurdity resulting from a contrary interpretation is avoided.that the disrupting the delicate check and balance mechanism under the Constitution. in violation of prosecution alone. The ambit of legislative power under Article VI of the Constitution is circumscribed by other President. While the decision finding Gonzales guilty of Gross Neglect of Duty and Grave Misconduct constituting manner and cause of removal are left to congressional determination. the congressional determination of the identity of the disciplinary authority is not a blanket authority for Congress to repose it on whomsoever Congress chooses without In these lights. constitutional provisions. judgment . thus justifying its limited application only to the officials occupying the highest when balanced with the constitutional principle of independence. The Deputy Ombudsman: The Dismissal Issue a. it is inherently divisive of the nation. Ombudsman that it creates. In the same manner. the constitutional guarantee of security of tenure. a cost-benefit analysis of adopting impeachment as a mechanism. It is in these lights that the second sentence in Section 2. in a of Section 12. our nation has witnessed the complications and problems an impeachment that the President’s power of removal is limited to specified grounds are dismally inadequate proceeding entails. a sui generis politico-legal process55 that signals the need for a judicious and over the Deputy Ombudsman’s head. while the Constitution itself vested Congress with the power to determine the manner and cause of removal e. a finding of guilt. 6770 is employees may be removed from office as provided by law. if any. To name a few.58 the defined he is to check for excesses and abuses defeats the very purpose of granting independence to the instrumentality given the power to try impeachment cases. even process. the Vice.53 Congress is empowered to determine the modes of removal from office of all public officers and employees except the President. this power must be interpreted consistent with the core is not a carte blanch authority constitutional principle of independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. its blanket authority for Congress to provide for any ground of removal it deems fit. the appeal. Congress’ power determines the manner and causes for the removal of non-impeachable officers of all non-impeachable officials. The fear of external reprisal from the very office limitation or bar for its initiation. Comelec63 is apt: Under Section 2. this must still be consistent betrayal of public trust is patently erroneous. the Members of the Constitutional Commissions. can be reduced to the otherwise legislate on the matter is far more advantageous to the country. at a minimum. 6770 cannot be considered. Article XI of the Constitution. some of the negative practical administrative case against the Deputy Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor before the OP can effects of impeachment are: it stalls legislative work. namely: the right to procedural and substantive due requirement of impeachment-grounds in Section 8(2) of RA No.57 the limited grounds for impeachment. the principle of separation of powers. but not by impeachment" in the intended as a measure of protection for the Deputy Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor – since second sentence of Section 2. the Members of the Supreme Court. Contrary to the implied view of the minority. Our observation in Macalintal v.this argument seriously overlooks the erosion of the independence of the Office of the impeachment is the most difficult and cumbersome mode of removing a public officer from office. more importantly. The mere fact that a statutorily-created sword of Damocles hangs It is. The Office of the President’s finding of gross negligence has no legal and factual leg to stand on . whose judges and employees are not subject to the disciplinary authority of the ignore the basic principles and precepts established by the Constitution. In short.62 C. in no way can this provision be regarded as At any rate. by its nature. Article XI of the 1987 Constitution. 61 Thus. a measure of protection of the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. who are all impeachable officials. With only one term allowed under Section 11. That a judicial remedy is available (to set aside dismissals that do not conform to the high standard required in determining whether a Deputy Ombudsman committed an impeachable offense) and On the practical side. very same ineffective Office of the Ombudsman that the framers had foreseen and carefully tried to avoid by making these offices independent constitutional bodies. In other words. The Members of the Court themselves may be subjected to the impeachment power of Congress.56 the one-year and influence of officialdom and partisan politics. by itself. and the principle of checks and balances. Ombudsman and whose neutrality would be less questionable. and.59 and the number of votes required for Office of the Ombudsman.60 All these argue against the extension of this removal mechanism beyond those mentioned in the Constitution. At the same time. Properly viewed independence granted to the Constitutional Commissions bars any undue interference from either from this perspective." The intent of the framers of the Constitution in providing that "[a]ll other public officers and While one may argue that the grounds for impeachment under Section 8(2) of RA No. if removable by the President. the Court remains consistent with its established rulings . Article XI is to prevent Congress from extending the more stringent these grounds are not intended to cover all kinds of official wrongdoing and plain errors of rule of "removal only by impeachment" to favored public officers. ordaining that constitutional commissions such as the COMELEC shall be "independent. opens up all the channels for external pressures careful handling as shown by the process required to initiate the proceeding. One such provision is Section 1 of Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution and the Ombudsman. Article XI of the 1987 Constitution should be read. of the mutual protection argument becomes distinctly running afoul of the independence enjoyed by the Office of the Ombudsman and without implausible. limiting Congress’ power to Deputy Ombudsman or Special Prosecutor. it is an expensive process in terms of the cost already result in their suspension and can interrupt the performance of their functions.The judicial recourse available is only consistent with the nature of the Supreme Court as a non. The OP’s decision perfectly illustrates why the with constitutional guarantees and principles.

directive or assailed Decision of the OP reads: decision. It handles numerous cases affected. with a conscious indifference to consequences insofar as other persons may be The Office of the Ombudsman is not a corner office in our bureaucracy. [emphasis and underscore ours] b. We cannot and palpable. The OP’s claims that Gonzales could have supervised his subordinates to promptly act on Mendoza’s motion and apprised the Tanodbayan of the urgency of resolving the same are similarly Gross negligence refers to negligence characterized by the want of even the slightest care. is itself a relative for reconsideration or reinvestigation may only be entertained if filed within ten (10) days from concept. among Section 8. Cecilio signed and forwarded to Gonzales this draft order. not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally. inordinate and unjustified delay in the resolution of Captain Mendoza’s Motion for Reconsideration timely filed on 5 November 2009 xxx amounted to gross neglect of duty and/or Only one motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation shall be allowed. the records of the case were already pending before Ombudsman Gutierrez. the Hearing Officer shall submit a proposed decision containing his make his recommendation for the appropriate action. the Deputy Ombudsman concerned shall be the approving 3. to review a case was totally baseless.66 Section 6. the period it requires cannot apply to Gonzales Let us again briefly recall the facts. the constitutional guarantee of "speedy disposition of cases" before. May 6. Dir. he is not simply a Hearing Officer tasked with the initial resolution of the motion. The a) New evidence had been discovered which materially affects the order. Rendition of decision. the evidence and allegations of respondent Deputy b) Grave errors of facts or laws or serious irregularities have been committed prejudicial Ombudsman himself. the OP’s ruling that Gonzales had been grossly negligent for taking nine days. 2009 . if any. the period for resolving the the Ombudsman. series of Ombudsman. since he is a Deputy Ombudsman whose obligation is to review the case. as the OP appears to suggest. endorsed the draft order for the final approval of the Ombudsman. Reconsideration within five days: Equally important. In the case of public officials. December 14. instead of five 5. and other documentary evidence gathered. Upon approval.64 shall resolve the same within five (5) days from the date of submission for resolution. who was assigned to review these motions and submitted for resolution.70 c.65 which was followed by a Supplement to the Motion for case does not cover the period within which it should be reviewed: Reconsideration. findings and recommendation for the approval of the Ombudsman. Assistant Ombudsmen and Deputy Ombudsmen concerned. 200967 . must be measured in this objective constitutional sense. or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act. Rule III The Court has already taken judicial notice of the steady stream of cases reaching the Office of the of Administrative Order No. April 5.76 Thus. when Mendoza hijacked the tourist bus on August 23. – Not later than thirty (30) days after the case is declared 2. copies thereof shall be served upon the parties and the head of the superior. that Mendoza’s case should have been prioritized over other similar cases. Said proposed decision shall be reviewed by the Directors. received the records of the case. April 27. No gross neglect of duty or inefficiency Even if we consider this provision to be mandatory. 2010 – GIPO Garcia released a draft order to be reviewed by his immediate authority. No actionable failure to supervise subordinates Clearly. Upon consideration of the First Report. and the Hearing Officer inefficiency in the performance of official duty. because of the very statutory grounds relied upon by the OP in dismissing . 2010. [italics and emphases supplied] 4. the delay. receipt of the decision or order by the party on the basis of any of the following grounds: Unfortunately.68 office or agency of which the respondent is an official or employee for his information and compliance with the appropriate directive contained therein. the OP72 relied on Section 8. quasi-judicial bodies. acting groundless.69 Thus. In Section 6 of Administrative Order No. November 5. Motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation: Grounds – Whenever allowable. as amended) in ruling that Gonzales should have acted on Mendoza’s Motion for "a grossly inordinate and inexcusable delay"74 on the part of Gonzales.The OP’s decision found Gonzales guilty of Gross Neglect of Duty and of Grave Misconduct.GIPO Garcia.73 This consideration certainly militates against the OSG’s observation that there was 1990.75 like the Office of the Ombudsman.Mendoza filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision of on the resolution of the case and submission of the proposed decision. 7 (or the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman. 2010 – Dir. Cecilio. Gonzales cannot be guilty of gross neglect of duty and/or inefficiency since he acted on the case forwarded to him within nine days. In finding Gonzales guilty. 2010 (or nine days after the records were forwarded to Gonzales) – Gonzales days. 7 1. there is gross negligence when a breach of duty is flagrant that involve the potential loss of employment of many other public employees. With respect to low ranking public officials. a motion others.71 conclusively state. this Office finds that the to the interest of the movant.

The fact that Gonzales had Mendoza’s case endorsed to his office lies within his mandate. less than four months until the kidnapping incident rendered Mendoza’s motion moot. had to review the case for responsibilities. any public official or employee of the government. To be sure. irregularly acted in apprehending Kalaw. Kalaw. Garcia — the writer of the draft — took less than months. we can be made to account only for lapses in our noteworthy that he had not drafted the initial decision and. To do so in the case of a Deputy Ombudsman would be repugnant to the independence that Special Prosecutor directly to the Tanodbayan himself. with investigative and prosecutorial powers. While the composition of the independent Office of the Ombudsman under the 1987 Constitution does not textually include the Special Prosecutor. the penalty of removal imposed by The facts do not show that Gonzales’ subordinates had in any way been grossly negligent in their the OP necessarily suffers grave infirmity. 1486 expressly gave the Secretary of Justice the power guilt on the part of Mendoza. and the Ombudsman.77 Even the Ombudsman herself could not be faulted for acting on a case within four days — followed by Cecilio. given the amount of cases that her office handles.87 PD No. the law also empowered the Tanodbayan to appoint Special Investigators and decision of the PNP-IAS (which dismissed the complaint against Mendoza). and exercise of legal judgment and In these lights. 1978. et al. Penalty of dismissal totally incommensurate with established facts constitutional.82 from it by the Office of the CSP. et al. Accordingly. who took 21 days. then we must be prepared to reconcile this with D. Based on the prosecution officer’s recommendations. The Special Prosecutor: The Constitutional Issue the established concept of the right of speedy disposition of cases – something the Court may be hard put to justify. series of 1990. President Ferdinand Marcos enacted PD No. subjected to an unreasonable and overwhelming constraint. of control and supervision over the Special Prosecutor.80 Under PD No.78 This provision is echoed by Section 13 of RA on June 11. 6770 should equally apply to the endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman and by resolving it against Mendoza on the basis of the unverified complaint-affidavit of the alleged victim. The law "created in the Office of the Tanodbayan an Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor" under the Tanodbayan’s control. therefore. "practical" considerations got the better of what is legal and e. 6770. . promise to return with the proper documents. decisions of other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies which may have also taken cognizance of the 1630 further amended the earlier decrees by transferring the powers previously vested in the case. No undue interest Constitution.84 the legislature was mandated to create the Office of the Ombudsman and her Deputies to act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against Ombudsman.81 These admissions led Gonzales and his staff to conclude that Mendoza. Given the lack of factual basis for the charges against Gonzales. Basic strictures of fair play dictate that we can only be work. Mendoza. et al. it is held liable for our own misdeeds.79 and by Section 3.90 with the exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan. 1486. if the Court rules that these periods per se constitute gross neglect of duty. Kalaw was officer or employee of Department of Justice or any Bureau or Office under the executive allowed to leave the precinct despite his failure to show a valid license and based merely on his supervision thereof" to assist the Office of the CSP. Unlike Lastly. as amended. the weight of the foregoing The OP also found Gonzales guilty of showing undue interest in Mendoza’s case by having the case discussions on the unconstitutionality of Section 8(2) of RA No. when In December 1978. PD No. perhaps. 160789 practically gave back to the Tanodbayan the powers taken away appropriate. The next morning. the decision of the OP is clearly and patently wrong. 1487. Special Prosecutor on the basis of the legislative history of the Office of the Ombudsman as expounded in jurisprudence. While GIPO Garcia reviewed the case and drafted the order for more than three months."91 In 1979. the not preclude the Ombudsman from looking into any other possible administrative liability of Ombudsman’s constitutional mandate to prosecute all the erring officials of this country would be Gonzales under existing Civil Service laws. the political and. was based on their admissions as well. Gonzales and his subordinates did not resolve the complaint only on the basis of the authority" to conduct preliminary investigation and to prosecute cases that are within the unverified affidavit of Kalaw. known as the Tanodbayan. research on the pertinent laws and jurisprudence. even if it were based merely on the request of the alleged victim’s father.86 however. independent Office of the Ombudsman. Similarly. we cannot subordinate personnel and/or to detail to the Office of the CSP any public officer or employees tie the hands of any judicial or quasi-judicial body by ruling that it should always concur with the who "shall be under the supervision and control of the Chief Special Prosecutor. The point is that these are not inordinately long periods for the work involved: examination of the records. Rule III of Administrative Order No. the admitted that they had arrested Kalaw based on two traffic violations and allowed him to stay the law also authorized the Secretary of Justice to appoint or detail to the Office of the CSP "any whole night until the following morning in the police precinct. This conclusion. PD No. since the proper procedure for the apprehension of traffic violators would be to give them a ticket and to file a case. The existing Tanodbayan at the time83 became the Office of the Special Prosecutor under the 1987 d. 7.85 No. If this Court rules that these periods per se constitute gross neglect of duty. The Constitution empowers the Under the 1973 Constitution.Gonzales. we cannot deduce undue interest simply because Gonzales’ decision differs from the the earlier decree. the finding of jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. does discretion. The 1987 Constitution created a new. It is notable that of all the officers. four months.92 our Constitution has specifically granted to this office and would nullify the very purpose for which it was created. the "Chief Special Prosecutor" (CSP) was given the "exclusive Moreover.88 Consistent with this grant of power. rules and regulations. it was Gonzales who took the least time — nine the first time. however.

the Special Prosecutor is by no means an ordinary subordinate but In the voting held on January 28. "shall continue to function and qualifications. 2012 Decision insofar as petitioner Gonzales is concerned (G. by making the Office of the Special Prosecutor an organic component of the Office of the Ombudsman and by granting the Ombudsman control and supervision over that office. there is every reason to treat the Special Prosecutor to be at par with the Ombudsman's deputies. separate and distinct from the latter."95 Thus.96 Section 13(8). would seriously place the Constitution. What is true for the Ombudsman must be equally provides that the Ombudsman may exercise "such other powers or perform such functions or true. the Deputies and the Special Prosecutor as well. Section 7 of Article XI expressly provides that the then existing Tanodbayan. from a list of Firstly.D. the role it performs as an organic component of that Office Other than the Ombudsman’s Deputies. the petitioners misconstrue Commissioner Romulo's statement as authority to advocate nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council. For emphasis.99 prohibitions and be henceforth known as the Office of the Special Prosecutor. an "independent Office of the Ombudsman" is created. In case of vacancy in these positions. Section 3 of RA No. No.93 The existing Tanodbayan is independence of the Office of the Ombudsman itself at risk.107 Special Prosecutor to the same ills that a grant of independence to the Office of the Ombudsman was designed for. the law that the intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution was to place the Office of the Special requires that the vacancy be filled within three (3) months from occurrence. 2014.103 The power of the Ombudsman and his or her deputies to require other under P. 1630 or subsequent amendatory legislation. cases within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and this prosecutorial authority includes high- ranking executive officials. the Ombudsman shall appoint all other officials and militates against a differential treatment between the Ombudsman’s Deputies. at bottom. In debunking that argument. when one considers that by express mandate of paragraph Given this legislative history. except those conferred on the imposed on the Ombudsman. SUMMARY OF VOTING the Ombudsman with the power to assign duties to the Special Prosecutor as he/she may deem fit. by a vote of 8-7. to Ombudsman himself/herself and his/her deputies. the Ombudsman may "exercise such other powers or both under the 1987 Constitution and RA No. Office of the Ombudsman.108 the Court resolved to reverse its one who effectively and directly aids the Ombudsman in the exercise of his/her duties. on one hand. In terms of appointment. Article XI of the Constitution. N0.109 the Court resolved to maintain the validity of Section 8(2) of removal powers of the President. the Office of the Special Prosecutor is not a subordinate agency of the Office of the In terms of composition. the Special Prosecutor. subjecting the Special Prosecutor to disciplinary and However. 1630 or grant it other powers. militates against an interpretation that would perform functions or duties as may be provided by law. at least insofar as an extraneous disciplinary authority is Congress recognized the importance of the Special Prosecutor as a necessary adjunct of the concerned. the present overall legal structure of the Office of the Ombudsman.D. declared Section 8(2) of RA No. even if the Office of the Special Prosecutor is not expressly made part of the composition of the Office of the Ombudsman. which September 4. aside from his or her deputies. the Special Prosecutor handles the prosecution of criminal Ombudsman." it is indubitable then that Congress has insulate the Deputy Ombudsman from the disciplinary authority of the OP and yet expose the the power to place the Office of the Special Prosecutor under the Office of the Ombudsman. in fact.100 rank and salary are likewise the same. Xxx The law also imposes on the Special Prosecutor the same qualifications it imposes on the In the second place. 6770 to provide for the functional and structural organization of the Office of the Ombudsman and the extent of its disciplinary authority. including in this Office not only the offices of the several Deputy Ombudsmen but Court said: the Office of the Special Prosecutor as well. by another vote of 8-7. the Ombudsman.R." The underscored phrase evidently in the Office of the Ombudsman. Thus. the Overall Deputy cannot assume the role of Acting refers to the Tanodbayan's powers under P. also for other lesser officials of that Office who act directly as duties as may be provided by law. Congress enacted RA agents of the Ombudsman herself in the performance of her duties.105 This power of control and supervision includes vesting the Office of III. except those powers conferred by the Constitution government agencies to render assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman is likewise enjoyed by on the Office of the Ombudsman. made the Office of the Special Prosecutor. In Acop v.101 The requirement on disclosure102 is exercise its powers as now or hereafter may be provided by law. 97 Prosecutor under the Office of the President. We include investigation and prosecution of officials in the Executive Department. and employees of the Office of the Ombudsman. the law gave the President the authority to appoint the Ombudsman. 6770. Under the 1987 are subject to the prosecutorial authority of the Special Prosecutor. the President may designate any of the Deputies or the Special Prosecutor as Acting follows then that Congress may remove any of the Tanodbayan's/Special Prosecutor's powers Ombudsman. "who shall continue to function and exercise its powers as now94 or hereafter may be provided by law. 196231). 6770 defines the composition of the Office of the Ombudsman and is. No. Article XI of the 1987 Constitution the Special Prosecutor himself. under the present Constitution. 6770 unconstitutional by granting disciplinary jurisdiction to the President over a Deputy Ombudsman. In case of vacancy Office of the Ombudsman created under this Constitution. not only for her Deputies but. his Deputies and the Special Prosecutor. whose own alter egos and officials in the Executive Department RA No. on the other. Thus. It Ombudsman. 8.104 Pursuing the present line of reasoning.This was the state of the law at the time the 1987 Constitution was ratified. Section 13. The Court did not consider the Office of the Special . by constitutional design. in violation of the independence of the Office of the Under Section 11(4) of RA No. Ombudsman. No. and must also enjoy the same grant of independence under the Constitution. 6770.106 the Court was confronted with an argument that. 6770 insofar as Sulit is concerned." Pursuant to this constitutional command.98 Their terms of office.

. WHEREFORE. hence. not entitled to the independence the latter enjoys under the Constitution. if warranted. into the possible administrative liability of Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III under pertinent Civil Service laws. the Court resolves to declare Section 8(2) UNCONSTITUTIONAL. but is without prejudice to the power of the Ombudsman to conduct an administrative investigation. This ruling renders any further ruling on the dismissal of Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III unnecessary. premises considered. rules and regulations.Prosecutor to be constitutionally within the Office of the Ombudsman and is. SO ORDERED.