• Justice Department directly controls and supervises prosecutors

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I am a law student, presently taking up Administrative Law. Please enlighten me on the administrative relationships of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its constituent and/or attached agencies. Does it exercise any authority over prosecutors?

    Dear Brenda,
    Our Government is divided into three (3) branches, namely the Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Considering that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is under the Executive branch, its administrative relationships shall be governed by Section 38, Chapter 7, Book IV of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987.

    As provided therein, the administrative relationships of the DOJ and its constituent or attached agencies are divided into three (3) categories, unless there is a contrary provision under the Code or in other laws defining special relationships of particular agencies. The first category is Supervision and Control, which includes the authority to: (a) act directly whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; (b) direct the performance of duty; (c) restrain the commission of acts; (d) review, approve, reverse or modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units; (e) determine priorities in the execution of plans and programs; and (f) prescribe standards, guidelines, plans and programs. The second category is Administrative Supervision, which generally involves the administrative relationship between a department or its equivalent and regulatory agencies or other agencies as may be provided by law in order to ensure that there is proper management of the latter.

    The third and last category is Attachment, which refers to the lateral relationship between a department or its equivalent and the attached agency or corporation for purposes of policy and program coordination.

    Insofar as prosecutors are concerned, the Department of Justice, through the Secretary of Justice, exercises direct control and supervision over them. This is evident from the provisions of Section 4, Chapter 1, Title III, Book IV, Executive Order No. 292, id, which specifically provides that “the Department (of Justice) shall consist of the following constituent units: (1) Department proper; x x x” The authority of DOJ over prosecutors was never abolished, but in fact was strengthened by Republic Act No. 10071, otherwise known as the “Prosecution Act of 2010” when it created the National Prosecution Service, which is composed of the prosecution staff, regional prosecution offices, and offices of the provincial and city prosecutors, all of which are under the control and supervision of the Secretary of Justice (Section 5 (2) and Section 7, id).

    In addition thereto, Section 4 of Republic Act (R. A.) No. 10071 expressly provides that the Secretary of Justice is vested with the power “to act directly on any matter involving national security or a probable miscarriage of Justice within the jurisdiction of the prosecution staff, regional prosecution offices, and the provincial prosecutor or the city prosecutor, and to review, reverse, revise, modify or affirm on appeal or petition for review as the law or the rules of the Department of Justice (DOJ) may provide, final judgments and orders of the prosecutor general, regional prosecutors, provincial prosecutors, and city prosecutors.”

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same.
    Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net


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