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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Ombudsman aims for improved survival rate of fact-finding investigations

by Elsa S. Subong

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 18 (PIA6) -- The Office of the Ombudsman aims for more enhanced and quality initial fact-finding investigations so that the cases brought to them for action can go beyond preliminary investigations.

Ombudsman Iloilo Officer-in-charge Atty. Sonnette Daquita said in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency, that most of the cases they attend to often fail to reach a level where substantial pieces of evidence are established, hence, they are dropped.

She said for a case to “survive” beyond the initial stage, it needs strong evidence through case build-up undertaken by trained investigators.

“Among our priorities is to enhance evidence-gathering, following the standards of a fair, impartial and expeditious case build-up,” Daquita said.

To achieve this, she said the Office of the Ombudsman plans to train field investigators in specialized techniques, like forensic engineering and forensic auditing.

Moreover, a specific measure the office is looking at, Daquita added, is the gradual involvement of trial prosecutors at the Office of the Special Prosecutors in the preliminary investigation, as members of the investigating prosecution panels.

“The graft investigation officers at the Central Office shall be involved in the trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan as members of trial prosecution teams,” she further said.

Meanwhile, Daquita said that Ombudsman is also keen on monitoring the cases referred to other agencies by instituting a system of monitoring to ensure no unreasonable delay in the termination of administrative proceedings and consequently, verdict.

Instances of this, Daquita cited, the criminal cases referred by the Office of the Ombudsman to the Department of Justice for prosecution in the regular trial courts.

“These cases should be monitored until their final disposition in courts,” she added.

Daquita said cases involving Ombudsman decisions in administrative cases which are endorsed to the heads of concerned agencies for implementation of the penalty, are also strictly monitored to ensure compliance.

“We have discovered that there had been agencies/local government units handed down the decisions, which did not comply so we need to monitor,” Daquita said.

She said the priority tasks they have set up cover the period from 2011-2018, so they have the time to gradually effect these developments. (ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

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