Skills of Ombudsman lawyers to be honedBy Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Weak case analysis and poor writing by investigating lawyers have hampered the resolution of graft cases in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said all the lawyers involved in the prosecution and field investigation of graft cases would undergo skills enhancement classes in the next seven months under a grant by the British Embassy in Manila.
At least 280 Ombudsman lawyers will take the classes in seven batches from August 2013 to February 2014 to improve their skills in deciding cases and drafting action papers.
Morales and British Embassy Charge d’Affaires Trevor Lewis signed on Friday the grant agreement covering the Rapid Assessment and Seminar on Case Analysis and Legal Draftsmanship (Rascald) project.
Under the project, Ombudsman lawyers will undergo intensive training in case analysis and legal draftmanship.
The Ombudsman also plans to come up with its own style book for its graft investigation and prosecution officers.
With the retooling project, the Ombudsman expects to increase its case disposition rate by 25 percent by the end of 2015 and eventually wipe out its case backlog by 2018.
From August 2011, when she was appointed to office, up to March 2013, Morales said the Office of the Ombudsman has resolved 5,609 criminal complaints and 5,898 administrative complaints.
She said around 25 percent of these resulted in the filing of criminal charges and in administrative penalties.
Erroneous draft case
“We observed that the action papers need improvement,” the retired Supreme Court associate justice said.
Morales said the draft case resolutions usually contained errors in grammar, style and format as well as typographical errors, showed inconsistencies, poor appreciation and presentation of cases and erroneous application of jurisprudence.
She said the retraining would help the lawyers keep up with legal trends, techniques in case analysis, legal research and citation, and come up with an Ombudsman writing style.
“It should be lucid, it should be concise, it should be logical and it should be able to accent what the case is all about,” Morales said.