Emphasis underscoring and italization in the original In Ledesma v Court of

Emphasis underscoring and italization in the original

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(Emphasis, underscoring and italization in the original.) In Ledesma v. Court of Appeals (Ledesma), 14 the Court definitively stated that the statement in Tapiador regarding the Ombudsman’s power was merely an obiter dictum and, as such, could not be cited as a doctrinal pronouncement. Thus: x x x [A] cursory reading of Tapiador reveals that the main point of the case was the failure of the complainant therein to present substantial evidence to prove the charges of the administrative case. The statement that made reference to the power of the Ombudsman is, at best, merely an obiter dictum and, as it is unsupported by sufficient explanation, is susceptible to varying interpretations, as what precisely is before us in this case. Hence, it cannot be cited as a doctrinal declaration of this Court nor is it safe from judicial examination. The import of the Ledesma ruling is crystal clear. Although the tenor of the text in Section 13(3), Article XI 15 of the Constitution merely indicates a "recommendatory" function, this does not divest Congress of its plenary legislative power to vest the Ombudsman powers beyond those stated in the Constitutional provision. Pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.)No. 6770, otherwise known as The Ombudsman Act of 1989, the Ombudsman is legally authorized to directly impose administrative penalties against errant public servants. Further, the manifest intent of the lawmakers was to bestow on the Ombudsman full administrative disciplinary authority in accord with the constitutional deliberations. Unlike the Ombudsman-like agencies of the past, the powers of which extend to no more than making findings of fact and recommendations, and the Ombudsman or Tanodbayan under the 1973 Constitution who might file and prosecute criminal, civil or administrative cases against public officials and employees only in cases of failure of justice, the current Ombudsman, under the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 6770, is intended to play a more active role in the enforcement of laws on anti-graft and corrupt practices and other offenses committed by public officers and employees. The Ombudsman is to be an "activist watchman," not merely a passive one. He is vested with broad powers to enable him to implement his own actions. 16 The Ombudsman has the legal interest to intervene in the proceedings before the CA. The issue of whether or not the Ombudsman possesses the requisite legal interest to intervene in the proceedings where its decision is at risk of being inappropriately impaired has been laid to rest in Ombudsman v. De Chavez. 17 In the said case, the Court conclusively ruled that even if the Ombudsman was not impleaded as a party in the proceedings, part of its broad powers include defending its decisions before the CA. And pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 19 of the Rules of Court, 18 the Ombudsman may validly intervene in the said proceedings as its legal interest on the matter is beyond cavil. The Court elucidated, thus: x x x the Ombudsman is in a league of its own. It is different from other
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  • Fall '19
  • Supreme Court of the United States, Appellate court

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