Ombudsman increases conviction rate in first half of 2015
The Office of the Ombudsman was able to win 81 of its 108 cases filed before the Sandiganbayan in the first half of 2015.
According to its performance report published in its website, the Ombudsman posted a conviction rate of 75 percent in the first semester of 2015, higher than the 45 percent recorded for the same period last year.
The conviction rate included those who pleaded guilty to their charges.
“One or more accused were convicted (including guilty pleas) in 81 out of 108 decided cases, thus posting a conviction rate of 75 percent,” the report said.
Of the 108 Sandiganbayan decisions, 81 resulted in convictions while 27 in acquittals.
The House of Representatives topped the list of government agencies with the most number of cases filed by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan for the first semester of 2015.
The Ombudsman filed 58 cases pertaining to members of the House, followed by 34 cases for members of the local government units, 11 cases for those from the Department of Education, five cases from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and four cases from the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Graft or violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act is the most common offense filed before the Sandiganbayan at 71 cases, followed by malversation or violation of the Revised Penal Code at 21 cases, and direct bribery at 10 cases.
However, the Ombudsman filed fewer informations before the Sandiganbayan for this period–134 case informations for the first semester, down from 290 informations filed for the same period last year.
The Ombudsman said it disposed of 1,476 criminal cases of the total 5,571 case workload; eight forfeiture cases of the 41 case workload; and 1,456 administrative cases of the 5,444 case workload.
For the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year, the disposition rate was higher for criminal cases (26 percent from 21 percent), forfeiture cases (20 percent from eight percent), and administrative cases (27 percent from 23 percent).
Within the first half of 2015, the Ombudsman was able to file plunder charges against former APEC party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez and former Masbate Rep. and incumbent governor Rizalina Lanete, as well as malversation and graft charges against Agusan del Sur Representative Rodolfo Plaza, Benguet Representative Samuel Dangwa, and Cagayan de Oro City Representative Constantino Jaraula, for their alleged involvement in the Janet Lim-Napoles pork barrel scam.
Also facing plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan are Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile.
It was also within the first half of this year that the Ombudsman charged businessman Cedric Lee of malversation and graft for the anomalous receipt of P23.47 million bank loan to his company for the construction of a public market that did not push through. Lee was also known for his alleged role in the mauling and extortion on television host and actor Vhong Navarro.
It was also during the first half that Optical Media Board chair and former action star Ronnie Ricketts was charged by the Ombudsman of graft for allegedly pulling out pirated DVDs which would have served as evidence against counterfeiters.
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