Sen. Santiago eyes probe into ‘inexplicable delay’ in resolution of cases by Ombudsman | Inquirer News

Sen. Santiago eyes probe into ‘inexplicable delay’ in resolution of cases by Ombudsman

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 02:18 PM August 31, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is eyeing a congressional inquiry into what she described as the “inexplicable delay” in the resolution of cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

“Maybe the Senate blue ribbon committee should investigate the inexplicable delay in the preliminary investigation of these cases,” Santiago said in a statement on Wednesday.

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“When the Senate makes a recommendation for prosecution, usually the evidence is already contained or identified in the committee report. If the Ombudsman fails to act on a Senate recommendation, in effect the Ombudsman renders the Senate probe useless,” she pointed out.

So to ensure prompt action on Congress’ recommendations, Santiago said she would file a bill, directing the Ombudsman to waive or at least to give priority to preliminary investigations of criminal cases recommended for filing by either the Senate or the House of Representatives.

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She specifically sought an amendment to the Ombudsman Act on setting a time limit for preliminary investigations conducted by the Ombudsman.

At present, the Ombudsman’s Rules of Procedure provides that preliminary investigation should be conducted according to the Rules of Court.

“Under the Rules of Court, once the complaint is filed with the fiscal, the accused is given 10 days to submit counter-affidavits and the hearing is held within five days. The investigating officer is given 10 days after the investigation to file a resolution either dismissing the complaint or filing it in court,” she said.

“Under the Rules, the Ombudsman has about 25 days to finish a preliminary investigation. But in many criminal cases that the Senate recommended for filing in court, the Ombudsman did not act at all or the Ombudsman let the cases languish pending preliminary investigation,” she pointed out.

Santiago enumerated the cases of delay in the preliminary investigation by the Ombudsman, including the 2006 fertilizer fund scam; the 2008 case of the euro generals; and the 2009 road board scam, as well as the NBN-ZTE scandal.

“Despite the recommendations made by the Senate, the office of the Ombudsman failed to resolve these cases promptly,” she lamented.

Santiago said Congress should amend the Ombudsman Act to also reflect the periods provided in the Rules of Court, which should serve as a clear guide in the disposition of cases before the Office of the Ombudsman.

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TAGS: Graft and Corruption, Ombudsman, Politics, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Senate
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