Ombudsman hits clearance requirement for presidential appointees
MANILA, Philippines — Ombudsman Samuel Martires has questioned a recent memorandum from the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) requiring all Presidential appointees to secure clearances from the Office of the Ombudsman, saying that they are already faced with a big backlog.
Martires, in an interview over DZRH, said that they have over 4,000 documents to process in the central office in Quezon City alone — with another 4,000 documents in the regional office in Visayas — which leaves them no choice but to refrain from giving special treatment to PMS’ order.
Clearances are obtained from the Ombudsman for various reasons, but these are mostly certifications that a government official does not have any pending case with the anti- graft office.
“My question is we have to define first who are these Presidential appointees, does that include secretaries? Does that include those appointed by the President who are career executive officers? Who are these Presidential appointees mentioned? With the question as to what will happen, we will not give special treatment to those who are applying for clearances because of this PMS requirement,” Martires said.
“Our backlog now has ballooned to more than 4,000, but that is just for the central office ha, Visayas has also ballooned to around 4,000 […] that is because of the requirement of the Commission on Audit at Civil Service Commission even for monetization of leave credits, officials have to get Ombudsman clearance,” he added.
With this backlog, Martires said they would prioritize giving clearances to those who are retiring and those who are being promoted.
“As I said, I will not give, we will not give any special treatment even to friends if for this reason only, because we give priority now to those who are due for retirement and for promotion, that’s what is important,” he pointed out.
Martires also questioned the sudden requirement from the PMS and the short notice given, asking what would happen to appointees who fail to submit because of the Ombudsman’s huge backlog.
Martires was referring to a memo from the PMS dated February 2, where PMS head Elaine Masukat required all incumbent Presidential appointees to submit their updated “Personal Data Sheet, clearances from the Civil Service Commission, National Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Ombudsman, and Sandiganbayan”.
Appointees are urged to comply within 30 days after the issuance of the memo, which is supposedly based on the directive of Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.