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SC clips Palace power to discipline deputy Ombudsman

/ 02:33 PM January 28, 2014

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MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court on Tuesday clipped the power of the Office of the President to discipline a deputy Ombudsman.

In a vote of 14-1, the high court said the President has power to discipline only the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

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The high court’s recent ruling is a reversal of its 2012 decision stating that the Office of the President has the authority to discipline officials of the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent body from the Executive branch.

“The Court, however, also considered motu propio (on its own) [because it was not raised in the motion for reconsideration as an issue] the power of the Office of the President to discipline the Deputy Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor. On these constitutional issues, the Court held (a) that the Office of the President has no power of discipline over the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman; and (b) that the Office of the President has power of discipline over the Office of the Special Prosecutor,” the high court said.

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The high court’s ruling was issued as it denied the bid of the Office of the Solicitor-General to affirm the dismissal from services of Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales.

Gonzales was dismissed from service by Malacañang following allegations that he delayed the resolution of the case against Rolando Mendoza. The Palace also took note of Mendoza’s allegation that Gonzales asked P150,000 in exchange for a favorable decision on his pending case.

Gonzales’ name was mentioned by Mendoza at the height of the hostage crisis in Quirino Grandstand where the police officer took hostage Hong Kong tourists. After nine hours of hostage drama, Mendoza, along with several Hong Kong tourist ended up dead.

Gonzales denied the allegations against him but he was fired.

He took the case to the high court who ruled on his favor.

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TAGS: Hong Kong tourist, Nation, News, Office of the President, Office of the Special Prosecutor, Quirino Grandstand hostage
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