Tuesday, April 12, 2016

SC affirms ruling declaring unconstitutional provision of Ombudsman Act
By Perfecto Raymundo

MANILA, April 12 (PNA) -- The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday affirmed its earlier decision declaring unconstitutional a provision of the Ombudsman Act.

This after the SC on Tuesday dismissed the motion for reconsideration (MR) of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales involving the question against the restraint made by the Court of Appeals (CA) in its first suspension order issued against former Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay.

Accordingly, the SC declared unconstitutional the second paragraph of Section 14 of Republic Act No. 6770, or the "Ombudsman Act", stating that no court, except the SC, shall hear any appeal or application for remedy against the decision or findings of the Ombudsman on matters involving questions of law.

The SC said that it (application for remedy) or findings of the said provision was not clear, and the particular "procedural remedy" was also not cited, which is only allowed to be heard by the SC.

Meanwhile, the SC declared "ineffective" the first paragraph of Section 14 of the Ombudsman Act which prohibits any court, except the SC, to issue writ of injunction which will delay the proceedings of the investigation of the Ombudsman.

The SC said that the said provision infringes on the "rule-making authority" of the SC, particularly on its authority to establish guidelines involving injunction and restraint order.

It added that this is also a violation of the separation of powers which is provided by the Constitution and it appears that the appellate jurisdiction of the SC was also expanded without its permission.

The SC cited as "ineffective" the said provision until it is not allowed or given permission by the SC.

The SC also declared that it is abandoning the "condonation doctrine", but the application of the decision will be "prospective".

Under the condonation doctrine, if an official is reelected, he cannot anymore be disciplined on administrative violation which he committed during his past term.

The SC said that the condonation doctrine has no basis in law and no basis in the provision of the 1987 Constitution.

However, the SC said, since the abandonment of the condonation doctrine has prospective application, the use by the Court of Appeals (CA) in this doctrine cannot be considered as "grave abuse of discretion". (PNA) RMA/PTR