• When the Ombudsman herself breaks the law

    22

    THE Constitution describes the Ombudsman and his or her deputies as “the protectors of the people.” And they are mandated to act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the government.

    The Ombudsman can recommend with respect to a public official or employee at fault his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution.

    Under the presidency of Benigno BS. Aquino 3rd, our current Ombudsman, Ms. Conchita Carpio-Morales, has enjoyed high prominence as the country’s chief graftbuster and scourge of graft and corruption. Top officials stand in dread of her and her office.

    All this is fine and reassuring to the citizen, but what happens when the graftbuster herself breaks the law or the rules in carrying out her duties? What protection does the public have from its advocate and watchdog?

    These questions have risen of late with respect to Ombudsman Morales because of two criticisms that have recently been leveled against her and her office.

    One criticism is the claim of the counsel of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has complained that Ombudsman Morales, in defending herself against a P200 million civil damages suit filed by Binay against her, has violated the Ombudsman’s Act, which bans her from utilizing the Solicitor General and government lawyers from her office for her defense, since the suit filed against her is not against her as an Ombudsman, but in her personal capacity.

    Violations of the Ombudsman and Anti-Graft Acts
    It was the deputy Ombudsman who prepared her affidavit, which shows that she used government lawyers and the resources of government, which violates the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

    Binay’s lawyer contends that Morales should be charged with violating the Ombudsman Act and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    An even more serious criticism of Ombudsman Morales concerns her alleged abuse of the law with respect to the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

    No less than a Sandiganbayan Justice has accused the Ombudsman of violating the law when she used Chief Justice Renato Corona’s bank accounts at his impeachment trial.

    Associate Sandiganbayan Justice Samuel Martires has said in a much-discussed dissenting opinion that the evidence used against Corona is “poison” and should not be used in his perjury case before the Sandiganbayan.

    Martires said Corona’s bank documents were obtained by the Ombudsman despite laws – such as Republic Act 1405 or the “Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits,” and RA 6426 or the “Foreign Currency Deposits Act” – which protect the absolute confidentiality of such records.

    “The bank documents never became public in nature, and were therefore protected by absolute confidentiality of bank deposits… Hence, whatever documents the Ombudsman has gathered from banks are considered ‘fruits of the poisonous tree’ and must therefore be disregarded by the Court,” he said.

    Martires added that the Ombudsman went under the table in obtaining the bank documents without Corona’s consent or any court order.

    “Considering that there is no showing that a specific consent or authority was given by the accused Corona to the Ombudsman or the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), there is likewise neither authority nor legal basis for the Ombudsman or the BIR to obtain the bank records of accused Corona,” Martires said.

    Hostile witness’ poisonous fruits against Corona
    The Ombudsman’s explosive evidence against Corona is a 17-page report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), which detailed Corona’s $12 million in “fresh deposits” in five banks where he maintained 82 dollar accounts between 2003 and 2012.

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales submitted a copy of the AMLC report to the Senate impeachment court in 2012 when she served as hostile witness for the defense and testified on the Ombudsman’s findings into Corona’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.

    Martires said the Sandiganbayan as a judicial body should not use evidence presented before a “political” court.

    “The Ombudsman based its resolution (finding probable cause) from the proceedings during the impeachment trial of accused Corona. Regrettably, whatever evidence was presented during the impeachment trial is political in nature while judicial proceedings involve legal judgment that is based on laws and rules of evidence,” Martires said.

    Corona was impeached by Congress in 2012 on false declarations of wealth in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). He is now facing a charge of perjury and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for his alleged undeclared assets.

    We think these two criticisms against the Ombudsman merit closer scrutiny because they touch upon the vital issue of prudence and circumspection on the part of public officials whom we have designated as protectors of the public interest.

    When violations of the law are committed in the discharge of their duties, they deserve full censure and appropriate punishment.

    In the case of the Ombudsman, she can only be removed from office by impeachment. Because of the political nature of her actuations, it is unlikely that Congress at this time will entertain any thoughts of impeaching her.

    The realities of politics notwithstanding, however, we believe it is important to stress that the Ombudsman as our public advocate and chief graftbuster must always act within the bounds of the law.

    She is a vital cog of our system of government. Ombudsman Morales should know this and do better.

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    22 Comments

    1. Fortget RC. He deserves to be dismissed, for stupidity. He allowed himself to convicted of a crime he was not even accused of. Art. II of the AI against him says that “he failed to disclose to the public his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth.” This is not a crime.Nobody is mandated “to disclose to the public his SALN”, only to submit it to a designated authority, which he did. Who among our our public officers ever disclosed to the public his SALN?

    2. When Ombudsman Morales stole and made public CJ Corona’s bank account secrets thereby violating our banking secrecy law, she was no different to a thief or a scoundrel. Well, anyway, scoundrels abound in this government that’s why other countries’ citizens look at us Filipinos scornfully.

    3. This is one of the advantages we are enjoying in our borrowed residence. Walang official ng gobierno dito ang ganyan KAGARAPA Ang ipinagtataka ko diyan kay OMB. MORALES ay bakit pa niya tinanggap ganyang klaseng trabaho, ang maging TUTA ni Abnoy. Kung kailan malapit ng abutin niya sa LANGIT sa IMPYERNO pa siya malalaglag. Sayang na MATANDA.

    4. Morales’ defense is that her case arose from her acts as the Ombudsman ergo cannot be a personal case. THis sounds logical.
      Binay has to get a court ruling to rebuff this before this complaint can take off.

    5. Leodegardo Pruna on

      What can we expect of Omb. Morales? Her continued subservience to P-Noy and under-the-table transactions. The ombudsman is not founded on moral grounds rather she stands MORAL ESS OR NO MORALS AT ALL. God bless the Philippines.

    6. “The bank documents never became public in nature, and were therefore protected by absolute confidentiality of bank deposits.
      —–

      Apparently absolute confidentiality doesn’t mean much. How did Morales obtain documents protected by absolute confidentiality without a court order ?

      Why was she allowed to use documents protected by absolute confidentiality obtained without a court order ?

      Appears the Ombudsman doesn’t know the law or just doesn’t care if what she does is illegal since she is above the law just like all of Aquino’s allies.

      Was she given a P50 million DAP fund gift like the senators got ?

      Way overdue for lifestyle checks on everyone in the government including the Ombudsman.

    7. The food poisoning that sickened thousands of children in Mindanao is the result of the FDA and DOH being extremely corrupt! And guess who was (may still be) in charge of the Mindanao FDA, one of the persons listed below – Jesusa Cirunay. Talagang corrupt at inutil pa!

      wwwfdagovph/names-of-officials-position-designation-and-contact-information/fda-management-team

      The FDA is extremely corrupt. List of people at the FDA and DOH whoa re corrupt: Atty Romela Devera, Sec. Garin, Dr. Miriam Sales, Atty. Lutero III, Jesusa Cirunay, Dr. Peter Glenn Chua, Agnette Peralta, MArivic Paulino, Atty. Jasper Lascano and Atty. Emilio Polig and former employees: Sec. Ona, FDA chief Suzette Lazo, FDA chief Kenneth Hartigan-Go (and now undersecretary of Health)! are extremely corrupt!

      Wicked_Lia(r) said, ” mukhang kilala mo ang mga tao sa FDA aH!

      nakakatransaksyones mo ba?

      lahat naman ng ahensya may mga BULOK……..”

      Yan na! Inamin ng corrupt silang mga N0ytard at MARnanakaw!

    8. For the information of the bloggers:

      Read Atty Salumbides et al vs. Ombudsman, G.R. no. 180917 promulgated by the Supreme Court on April 23, 2010.” This is one of the last decisions written by former Justice Carpio-Morales now, the Ombudsman herself. While the petitioners prayer for the extension of the “doctrine of condonation” was rejected because it can only be available to elective officials, Carpio-Morales asserted the doctrine of condonation and cited several cases to wit:

      “More than 60 years ago, the Court in Pascual v. Hon. Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija17c?a issued the landmark ruling that prohibits the disciplining of an elective official for a wrongful act committed during his immediately preceding term of office. The Court explained that “[t]he underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms, and that the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer’s previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor.”18c?a

      The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people elect[e]d a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such faults or misconduct[,] to practically overrule the will of the people.19c?a

      Lizares v. Hechanova, et al.20c?a replicated the doctrine. The Court dismissed the petition in that case for being moot, the therein petitioner “having been duly reelected, is no longer amenable to administrative sanctions.”21c?a

      Ingco v. Sanchez, et al.22c?a clarified that the condonation doctrine does not apply to a criminal case.23c?a Luciano v. The Provincial Governor, et al.,24c?a Olivarez v. Judge Villaluz,25c?a and Aguinaldo v. Santos26echoed the qualified rule that reelection of a public official does not bar prosecution for crimes committed by him prior thereto.

      Consistently, the Court has reiterated the doctrine in a string of recent jurisprudence including two cases involving a Senator and a Member of the House of Representatives.27c?a

      Salalima v. Guingona, Jr.28c?a and Mayor Garcia v. Hon. Mojica29reinforced the doctrine. The condonation rule was applied even if the administrative complaint was not filed before the reelection of the public official, and even if the alleged misconduct occurred four days before the elections, respectively. Salalima did not distinguish as to the date of filing of the administrative complaint, as long as the alleged misconduct was committed during the prior term, the precise timing or period of which Garcia did not further distinguish, as long as the wrongdoing that gave rise to the public
      official’s culpability was committed prior to the date of reelection.” (end of quote)

      Did Morales forgot her recent decision before she left the Supreme Court? Why did she reasserted the “doctrine of condonation” as to elective officials when she was still a member of the Supreme Court yet now, conveniently urged the Supreme Court to revisit the time honored doctrine (60 years)? For convenience?

      Are you saying that the Supreme Court was consistently wrong in a string of several cases for 60 years reiterating the said doctrine and you are the only one correct Sereno? Are you saying that Capio-Morales was also wrong considering that the decision penned by Carpio-Morales was decided by a “court en banc”?

      “As for San Pedro, his administrative liability was rendered moot and academic owing to his reelection in the same position in 2010,” she said, referring to a Supreme Court doctrine that condones the administrative liability of an elected public official for a past offense once that official is reelected for a fresh term.

    9. Ang alam ko number 1 corrupt si ombitchwoman as she was entrusted with the power to counter corruption yet she condones corruption!

      The FDA is extremely corrupt. List of people at the FDA and DOH whoa re corrupt: Atty Romela Devera, Sec. Garin, Dr. Miriam Sales, Atty. Lutero III, Jesusa Cirunay, Dr. Peter Glenn Chua, Agnette Peralta, MArivic Paulino, Atty. Jasper Lascano and Atty. Emilio Polig and former employees: Sec. Ona, FDA chief Suzette Lazo, FDA chief Kenneth Hartigan-Go (and now undersecretary of Health)! are extremely corrupt!
      Wicked_Lia(r) said, ” mukhang kilala mo ang mga tao sa FDA aH!
      nakakatransaksyones mo ba?
      lahat naman ng ahensya may mga BULOK……..”
      Yan na! Inamin ng corrupt silang mga N0ytard at MARnanakaw!

    10. Sometimes editorials and commentaries which are meant to give light and clarity to complex issues serve to incite.

    11. Very sad legal scenario in the Philippines, the reign of the lawbreakers! Let Jury system be installed there in the Philippines like in the USA to be sponsored by Manny Pacquiao and his honest comrades!

    12. Vic Penetrante on

      Lawyers will always argue ‘a way in or out’ of any case. We have too many bright lawyers, the reason why cases or trials take too long.

      • I agreed that there are many bright lawyers in the Philippines. Just unfortunate many of them only valued their intelligence as good as toilet paper. Worse they are spiritually corrupted.

    13. The Ombudsman did violate the rules and the laws in using government resources for her own personal benefit.

      • Let the lap dog do her thing now cuz once her beneficiary, the hepatities bsa & his minions gone on July 2016, her & other lapdogs will have their karma in the proper forums.

        May God bless the Philippines and the Filipino people who are at the mercy of these yellow lapdogs.

    14. Mar Padilla, Jr. on

      The culprit should be investigated by independent investigator and if found guilty. He/She should go to jail the same as anybody.

    15. I agree to the opinion of former Sandiganbayan Justice Martirez that evidences presented in the Senate should not be admissible in the Sandiganbayan. Former CJ Corono was found guilty because of ‘illegally’ obtained evidences and, priimarily, because of political ‘exigency’ and bribery as bared by Sen. Estrada.

      • Include also the alleged BRIBE-GIVING exposed by Jinggoy. But the ombudsman is mukhang BULAG, PIPI AT BINGI sa katotohanan tulad sa kanta ni Freddie Aguilar. Talaga kasing isa sa mga attack dogs at executioners ni AbNoy. KATANDA na eh ayaw pa lumihis sa tuwad na daan ni Boy Sisi aka Boy Stand Down…

    16. If Morales breaks the law?
      Let the people break her neck.
      The Ombudsman became OM BADS MAN

    17. There you have it as clear as anything why they have the bank secrecy law in this country. Its there for one reason & one reason only to allow crooked rich people to avoid prosecution. The ex chief justice was using one of those accounts to avoid showing his money. He knew full well he should declare hon his saln how much he has in that account but he also knows no one can look into that account. Get rid of this bank secrecy law right now as its there as the best tool for these scum to avoid getting caught. If bank secrecy is so important then why isn’t it given to everyone with a peso account. Is the dollar more important in the Philippines than the peso. These politicians want it there as many of them have hidden money also. Catch these people while you can, get rid of the bank secrecy law right now.

      • Ignorance indeed. Perhaps you should research first on why they put the bank secrecy law in place before making any more idiotic comments. After all, it is the law. And all of us, including the Ombudsman, should abide by it. You totally missed the point.