Ombudsman insists on prioritizing corruption prevention | Inquirer News

Ombudsman Martires insists on prioritizing corruption prevention

/ 05:07 PM December 09, 2019

Samuel Martires

Ombudsman Samuel Martires (File photo by NOY MORCOSO /

MANILA, Philippines — Ombudsman Samuel Martires again pushed for a greater focus on preventing graft and corruption rather than a punitive approach to the problem during an anti-corruption forum on Monday.

Martires said in his keynote speech at the Sikhay Laban sa Korapsyon — a public accountability summit hosted by the Office of the Ombudsman — that the emphasis should be on the values formation of students and the training of government employees to stop corrupt practices.


“I would like to put more emphasis now on graft and corruption prevention, rather than putting more emphasis on investigation and prosecution. It is better to prevent than to prosecute or investigate,” he said.


Martires, who is also a former Supreme Court associate justice, added: “If we continue, if we will be successful in our program preventing corruption, we will be able to abolish one court in the Philippines and this is Sandiganbayan.”

As the body tasked to investigate government officials and their private co-conspirators, state prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman would normally file cases that would be heard by the Sandiganbayan.

The Ombudsman mentioned this on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day, in the context of massive graft and corruption in the Philippines.

Last January, the country was ranked 99th among countries perceived to be corrupted in the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of global watchdog Transparency International.

Although the Philippines got a score of 36 — an improvement from the 34 it got in in 2017 — Transparency International said it was still far from the average of the Asia-Pacific region, which was at 44.

READ: PH slightly improves in 2018 corruption index–watchdog


Martires also mentioned the National Household Survey on Experience with Corruption in the Philippines, a study released by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2018.

“What is surprising in this survey is that it was found out that for every 20 households, at least one household had bribed a government official or employee,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino.

“That’s a very high percentage — one of every 20. And I think the Office of the Ombudsman has started training not only government officials and employees but also the private sector because it’s not only the government official or employee who is corrupt but also the person making the bribe,” he added.

It was not the first time that Martires pushed for preventive measures against corruption. Last June, during a forum with multisectoral organizations, he stressed that an intensified values formation program in schools would be the answer to the high corruption incidence in the country.

Then in September, the Commission on Higher Education, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the University of the Philippines signed an agreement to improve the teaching of ethics even in tertiary education units, still as part of Martires’ program.

His office also recognized persons who went out of their way to do exemplary acts, like returning huge sums of money even though they themselves needed it.


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