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PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ombudsman vows prompt disposition of cases, zero backlog for 2012

by Elsa S. Subong

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 12 (PIA) –- Disposition of high profile cases and achieving a zero backlog are among the top agenda of the Office of the Ombudsman for 2012.

Ombudsman-Iloilo officer-in-charge Atty. Ma. Sonnette Daquita said during the weekly cable TV Program “Hangpanay” anchored by the Philippine Information Agency, that these two priorities are on top of the eight-point agenda of the Ombudsman.

Daquita said Ombudsman Carpio Morales has given all Ombudsman offices to zero-in on high profile cases involving high-ranking officials, large sums of money over P50 million and other grand corruption cases.

“Ombudsman Carpio Morales is telling us not to be satisfied in catching the “small fish” but must go after the “school of big fish” lurking in government offices,” Daquita said.

Lodged at the Iloilo office now and elevated for investigation of the Ombudsman in their central office, is about 10 high profile cases, Daquita added.

“For cases involving high-ranking officials in corruption cases involving over P50 million, our central office does the preliminary investigation,” Daquita further said.

She added that the Office of the Ombudsman is also bent on reducing the volume of non-priority complaints and cases, like non-corruption cases, frivolous cases and cases involving offenses, which may be coordinated or referred with other agencies, like the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Justice.

As to zero backlogs, Daquita said there are more than 11,000 pending cases in Ombudsman offices in the country, and Carpio-Morales has taken the steps to implement strict enforcement of the prescribed time frames under existing rules.

She added that the enormous workload and the few investigation officers, especially lawyers in the Ombudsman contribute to the seemingly impossibility of accomplishing a zero backlog, but they are starting now, until the end of the term of Carpio-Morales.

“Here in our office we only have two lawyers and a few well-trained investigation officers, and we have no provincial offices,” Daquita said.

Ombudsman Carpio-Morales has initiated the operation of a computerized centralized Uniform Case Monitoring System, which can facilitate the effective monitoring of cases, which also depend in part on the collective efficiency of the human resources and internal processes.

On the whole, the office plans to create a Committee on Rules which will consolidate and revise the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman-Iloilo plans to continue with its impact projects started in 2011, which have generated support from various groups.

Daquita said, they are focusing on holding caravans of public services with government agencies, holding of accountability seminars with the local government units and at making their public assistance more responsive. (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

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