Ombudsman prosecutors seek SC intervention | Inquirer News

Ombudsman prosecutors seek SC intervention

High court asks Palace to comment

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman have asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to stop the implementation of President Benigno Aquino III’s order dismissing or suspending them from government service.

Upon receipt of the petitions, the high court has asked Malacanang, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, to comment in 10 days on the petitions that questioned the jurisdiction of the Office of the President to impose disciplinary sanctions against them.

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Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III, who was blamed for triggering the hostage crisis in Manila in August last year, asked the high court to stop President Benigno Aquino III and his legal team from enforcing his dismissal. Eight Hong Kong residents and the hostage-taker, Inspector Rolando Mendoza, were killed in that incident.

Mendoza blamed Gonzalez for his outrage because of the supposed delay in addressing his case and for supposedly asking for P150,000.

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Gonzalez claimed that the episode was a good television script that concluded with government seeking out scapegoats.

In his petition, Gonzalez maintained that the Office of the Ombudsman was an independent body as stated under Article XI of the 1987 Constitution.2) of Republic Act 6770 or the Ombudsman Act.

At the same time, Gonzalez also urged the high court to issue a status quo ante to observe the situation prior to the decision to dismiss him from service while the case is still pending with the high court. He also urged the high court to declare as unconstitutional Section 8 of the Ombudsman Act.

This provision states that “a deputy, or the special prosecutor, may be removed from office by the President for any of the grounds provided for the removal of the Ombudsman, and after due process.”

Last April 1, Malacanang dismissed Gonzalez after he was found guilty of neglect of duty and gross misconduct over the Mendoza incident.

But the Ombudsman’s office refused to implement the dismissal of Gonzalez by invoking its independence under Article XI, 1987 Constitution and with Section 21 of Republic Act No. 6770 or the Ombudsman’s Act which provides, “The Office of the Ombudsman shall have disciplinary authority over all appointive officials of the Government except over officials who may be removed only by impeachment, or over members of Congress and the Judiciary.”

Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit also asked the high court for a restraining order in a separate petition.

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She said Aquino and his men had no authority to fire her for supposedly mismanaging the plunder case against a former comptroller of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, retired Major General Carlos Garcia.

Sulit had helped draw up the controversial plea bargain agreement with Garcia that Malacañang contested. She told the court that Malacañang violated the sub-judice rule because the Sandiganbayan ant-gtaft court had not yet approved the plea bargain agreement.

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TAGS: Graft and Corruption, Judiciary
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