Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ANTI-CORRUPTION: The Right OS (Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan)

An effective, efficient, just, and speedy administration of justice is one of the most important elements of a free and democratic society.

When the operating system (OS) of the judicial processes becomes ineffective because of inefficiency and slow delivery, it would inevitably result in injustice.

“Public office is a public trust.”  When public officials entrusted with public funds abuse, misuse and/or misappropriate such funds for personal use, it is a betrayal of that public trust.  The term for such betrayal is graft and corruption.  Justice demands that these corrupt public officials be prosecuted, tried, and jailed when found guilty.

Under the law, the responsibility of prosecuting the corrupt public officials and their co-conspirators lies with the Office of the Ombudsman.  The Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other agencies that it may require or request to assist render support.

Sandiganbayan is the court that is designated by law to try, issue warrants, and to decide all cases pertaining to public officials charged with graft and corruption.

At this moment of our history, I cannot imagine any other government agencies that could play more significant roles in shaping the future destiny of our country than the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan.

Studies show that 30% of the National Government Budget is lost to graft and corruption.  This assumes that corrupt public officials and their co-conspirators would probably pocket P680 billion of the P2.265 trillion budgeted for 2014. Unless the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan are really empowered to fulfill their responsibilities as mandated by law.

Commensurate with the legal authority and responsibility should be the corresponding RESOURCES to fully exercise them with efficiency. 


Sandiganbayan has a total budget of P393, 410,000.   The Corruption Deterrence Program of the Ombudsman’s budget is P528, 750,000.  Yet, the goal and resulting effect of their decisions and efficient program implementation is to prevent or substantially minimize the daylight robbery of about P680 billion of government/people’s money.

Obviously, funding the OS (Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan) is no longer just budgeting a bureaucratic expenditure.  It could actually be considered an “investment” generating a very high ROI (Return on Investment).  So any additional funding for both institutions is worth every dime.

Just recovering the loot of the Senators accused of Plunder (P1.140 billion) alone is more than the combined budget of OS in Corruption Deterrence.  Add those of the others like Napoles, lawmakers, executive officials and other co-conspirators and compute.  And this is just for the scams led by Napoles.  There are definitely other scammers outside of her. 

What about Malampaya, public works, agriculture, and many others that I am sure would be discovered?


The Ombudsman defined the Roadmap to have a successful mission, namely: Disposition of High-Profile Cases, Zero Backlog, Improved “Survival” Rate of Fact-Finding, Enforced Monitoring of Referred Cases, Improved Responsiveness of Public Assistance, Improved Anti-Corruption Policy and Program Coordination Among Sectors, Rationalization of the Functional Structure of the Office, and Enhance Transparency and Credibility.

To plan, organize, lead, and control the Roadmap more efficiently and effectively, the Ombudsman must have sufficient human resources to work with her.  The recruitment, hiring, training, maintaining, motivating, inspiring and managing more competent, skillful, honest, honorable, hopeful, humble prosecutors and field investigators would go a long way.  Even the recruitment of volunteers (legal, accounting, technology, research, etc.) should be undertaken with vigor and enthusiasm. 

The Sandiganbayan under current conditions resolves a case from start to finish in about 8-9 years.  That’s a no-no in a democracy!  It is definitely not a deterrent to corruption. It has been used as a recruitment tool for the CPP-NPA (Communists) over the years because of their ability to dispense swift justice. 

It is a question of time!  So the increase of efficient manpower should shorten the time.

There used to be 9 Justices or 3 Divisions at the Sandiganbayan. It was later increased to 15 composing 5 Divisions. There is a suggestion to increase it again – probably to 21 or 7 Divisions.

Savings in time is generated not just quantitatively but also qualitatively as well as system improvement.  The hiring of highly motivated, competent and honest Justices is a must.  Senate President Frank Drilon, a former Secretary of Justice, had proposed some system changes.  He thinks “every case should be raffled to a justice in Charge who will receive and hear evidence for a division, and report developments in a case to the two other members. After the case has been submitted for decision, the justice in charge will submit a report on the case to the division. In consultation, the three justices will agree on the conclusion and assign a member to write the decision.”

He is also proposing the transfer of “minor cases” to the regional trial courts to free up Sandiganbayan.  Apparently about 60% of the cases pending before the Sandiganbayan are minor cases.


“Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap.”  This is not just a political slogan to win votes.  This is not just a social equalizer to bridge the widening gap between the rich and the poor.  It is also an economic vision that could spur economic growth, generate employment, expand education, alleviate poverty, promote equity expansion and entrepreneurship, provide health care and most importantly, promote economic stability.

Anything lost to corruption is socio-political and economic opportunity lost for the current and next generation.

No comments:

Post a Comment