Accountability of Public Officers Essay
Section 1: PUBLIC OFFICE AS A PUBLIC TRUST
Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives.
Section 2: IMPEACHMENT/REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Impeachment: (as means of removal from office)
1. Who may be impeached:
– SC Justices
– Constitutional Commission members
– Culpable violation of the Constitution
– graft and corruption
– other high crimes or
– betrayal of public trust
Note: It is an exclusive list.
Congress cannot, by law, add to the list of impeachable offenses. These officers cannot be charged in court with offenses that have removal from office as penalty. The President cannot be charged with murder.
A SC Justice cannot be disbarred because this would disqualify him from his position. BUT AFTER an official has been impeached, he can be charged with the appropriate offense. Resignation by an impeachable official does not place him beyond the reach of impeachment proceedings; he can still be impeached All Other Public Officers and Employees
1. They may be removed from office as provided by law
2. BUT: NOT by impeachment
Section 3: PROCEDURE FOR IMPEACHMENT
Exclusive Power of House of Representatives
The House of Representatives has exclusive power to INITIATE all cases of impeachment. Procedure:
1. Filling of verified complaint
Can be filed by:
Any member of the House of Representatives or
Any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member of the House or By at least 1/3 of all the Members of the House of Representatives 2.) Inclusion of complaint in the order of business with 10 session days 3.) Referral to proper Committee within 3 session days thereafter 4.) Submission of Committee report to the House together with corresponding resolution There should be a hearing
There should be a majority vote of the members
The report should be submitted within 60 days from referral, after hearing, and by a majority vote of ALL its members. 5.) Calendaring of resolution for consideration by the House Should be done within 10 session days from receipt thereof
6.) Vote of at least 1/3 of all Members of the House necessary to: Affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee or To override its contrary resolution
Note: If the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment was filed by at least 1/3 of all the Members of the House, it shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment. Trial in the Senate shall proceed. 7.) Trial in the Senate
Senate has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment For this purpose, the Senators shall be under oath or affirmation When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the CJ of the Supreme Court presides. However, he/she will not vote. 8.) Judgment of Conviction
This requires the concurrence of 2/3 of all the Members of the Senate 9.)
Effect of the Impeachment
Removal from office of the official concerned
Disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines Officer still liable to prosecution, trial, and punishment if the impeachable offense committed also constitutes a felony or crime. Section 4: SANDIGANBAYAN
Sandiganbayan = the anti-graft court
Sections 5-6, 8-14: OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
2.) Overall deputy
3.) At least one Deputy each for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao 4.) Deputy for military establishment may be appointed Qualifications: (Ombudsman and his deputies)
1.) Natural born citizen of the Philippines
2.) At least 40 years old at time of appointment
3.) Of recognized probity and independence
4.) Member of the Philippine bar
5.) Must not have been candidate for any elective office in the immediately preceding election 6.) For Ombudsman: He must have been for ten years or more A judge or
Engage in the practice of law in the Philippines
Disqualifications/Prohibitions (under Article IX, Section 2) 1.) Cannot hold any other office or employment during his tenure 2.) Cannot engage in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which may be affected by the functions of his office 3.) Cannot be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract with or in any franchise or privilege granted by the Government, any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, including GOCCs or their subsidiaries. Appointment
1. Of Ombudsman and deputies
By the president from a list of at least 6 nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council. Vacancies will be filled from a list of 3 nominees
Appointments do NOT require confirmation
All vacancies shall be filled within 3 months after they occur. 2. Of other officials and employees of the Office of the Ombudsman By the Ombudsman
In accordance with Civil Service Law
Term: (Ombudsman and deputies)
1. 7 years with reappointment
2. They are NOT qualified to run for any office in the election immediately succeeding their cessation from office Rank/Salaries:
1. The Ombudsman has the rank of Chairman of a Constitutional Commission 2. The Members have the rank of members of a Constitutional Commission 3. Their salaries cannot be decreased during their term of office. Powers, Functions and Duties of the Office of the Ombudsman
1. Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient. The SC held that the power to investigate and prosecute cases involving public officers and employees has been transferred to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman may always delegate his power to investigate.
The power to investigate includes the power to impose preventive suspension. This preventive suspension is not a penalty.
“INVESTIGATE” does not mean preliminary investigation.
The complaint need not be drawn up in the usual form.
The “ILLEGAL” act or omission need not be in connection with the duties of the public officer or employee concerned. ANY illegal act may be investigated by the Ombudsman. In this regard, the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction is CONCURRENT with that of the regular prosecutors. 2. Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any public official or employee of the government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as of any government-owned or controlled corporation with original charter, to perform and expedite any act of duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties. The Ombudsman has PERSUASIVE POWER, and may require that proper legal steps are taken by the officers concerned. The public official or employee must be employed in:
(I). The Government
(II). Any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof; or (III). GOCC’s with original charters
The SC has held that the SP may prosecute before the Sandiganbayan judges accused of graft and corruption, even if they are under the Supreme Court. 3.) Direct the officer concerned to take the appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith. The Ombudsman does NOT himself prosecute cases against public officers or employees. Final say to prosecute still rests in the executive department. The Ombudsman or Tanodbayan may use mandamus to compel the fiscal to prosecute. 4.) Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the disbursement or use of public funds of properties, and report any irregularity to COA for appropriate action.
5.) Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents. 6.) Public matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and with due process. 7.) Determine the cause of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud and corruption in the government and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency 8.) Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law. Note: The Office of the Ombudsman also has the duty to act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality including GOCCs and their subsidiaries. In appropriate cases, it should notify the complainants of the action taken and the result thereof. Fiscal Autonomy
The Office of the Ombudsman enjoys fiscal autonomy. Its approved annual appropriations should be automatically and regularly released. Section 7:
OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROCECUTOR
1. Under the 1987 Constitution, the existing Tanodbayan became the Office of the Special Prosecutor
It will continue to function and exercise its powers as now or hereafter may be provided by law Exception: Powers conferred on the Office of the Ombudsman
3. The Office of the Special Prosecutor is subordinate to and acts under the orders of the Ombudsman Note: According to Jack, the SC was wrong because the ConCom intended that the SP was to prosecute anti-graft cases.
Section 15: RECOVERY OF ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH
Prescription, Laches, Estoppel
1.) The right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials and employees from them or from their nominees or transferees shall NOT be barred by prescription, laches or estoppel. 2.) Their right to prosecute criminally these officials and employees may prescribe. Section 16: PROHIBITION ON CERTAIN FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS
This prohibition applies to:
3.) Members of the Cabinet
4.) Members of Congress
5.) Members of Supreme Court
6.) Members of Constitutional Commissions
8.) Any firm or entity in which they have controlling interest When prohibition applies:
Prohibition applies during their TENURE.
Scope of prohibition:
1.) The above mentioned officials cannot obtain, directly or indirectly for BUSINESS PURPOSES: Loans
Other forms of financial accommodation
Government owned or controlled banks; or
Government owned or controlled financial institutions.
2.) If the loan, etc, is NOT for business purpose, e.g. a housing loan, the prohibition does not apply. Section 17: Statements of assets, liabilities and net worth
Public officer and employee shall submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth upon assumption of office and as often as required under the law. When declaration shall be disclosed to the public:
These declarations shall be disclosed to the public in a manner provided by law in the case of: 1.) President
3.) Members of the Cabinet
4.) Members of Congress
5.) Justices of the Supreme Court
6.) Members of Constitutional Commissions
7.) Other constitutional offices
8.) Officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank Section 18: Allegiance of public officers and employees
Allegiance to the State and to the Constitution
Change in Citizenship/Immigrant Status
1.) Incumbent public officers and employees who seek either: Change his citizenship; or
Acquire immigrant status in another country
Shall be dealt with by law.
2.) If Philippine citizenship is one of the qualifications to the office, the loss of such citizenship means the loss of the office by the incumbent. 3.) The Election Code provides the rules with respect to non-incumbents, i.e. persons running for elective offices. The Code provides that permanent residents of or immigrant to a foreign country cannot file certificates of candidacy unless they expressly waive their status as such This renunciation must be some other than, and prior to, the filling of the certificate of candidacy. Reference:
Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid
Ateneo Central Bar Operations