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ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 07 April 10, 1990

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 07 April 10, 1990

RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN

 

Pursuant to the authority vested in the Office of the Ombudsman under Sections 18, 23 and 27 of Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as "The Ombudsman Act of 1989," the following Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman are hereby prescribed and promulgated:

RULE I

SECTION 1. TITLE. — These rules shall be known as the RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN.

Sec. 2. COVERAGE. — These rules shall apply to all criminal and administrative complaints, grievances or requests for assistance and such other matters cognizable by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Sec. 3. FORM OF COMPLAINTS, GRIEVANCE OR REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE. — Complaints may be in any form, either verbal or in writing. For a speedier disposition of the complaint, however, it is preferable that it be in writing and under oath. A complaint which does not disclose the identity of the complainant will be acted upon only if it merits appropriate consideration, or contains sufficient leads or particulars to enable the taking of further action.

Grievances or requests for assistance may likewise be verbal or in writing. In any case, the requesting or complaining party must indicate his address and telephone number, if any.

RULE II

PROCEDURE IN CRIMINAL CASES

SECTION 1. GROUNDS. — A criminal complaint may be brought for an offense in violation of R.A. 3019, as amended, R.A. 1379, as amended, R.A. 6713, Title VII Chapter II, Section 2 of the Revised Penal Code, and for such other offenses committed by public officers and employees in relation to office.

Sec. 2. EVALUATION. — Upon evaluating the complaint, the investigating officer shall recommend whether it may be:

a) dismissed outright for want of palpable merit;

b) referred to respondent for comment;

c) indorsed to the proper government office or agency which has jurisdiction over the case;

d) forwarded to the appropriate office or official for fact-finding investigation;

e) referred for administrative adjudication; or

f) subjected to a preliminary investigation.

Sec. 3. PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION; WHO MAY CONDUCT. — Preliminary investigation may be conducted by any of the following:

1) Ombudsman Investigators;

2) Special Prosecuting Officers;

3) Deputized Prosecutors;

4) Investigating Officials authorized by law to conduct preliminary investigations; or

5) Lawyers in the government service, so designated by the Ombudsman.

Sec. 4. PROCEDURE. — Preliminary investigation of cases falling under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and Regional Trial Courts shall be conducted in the manner prescribed in Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, subject to the following provisions:

a) If the complaint is not under oath or is based only on official reports, the investigating officer shall require the complainant or supporting witnesses to execute affidavits to substantiate the complaints.

b) After such affidavits have been secured, the investigating officer shall issue an order, attaching thereto a copy of the affidavits and other supporting documents, directing the respondent to submit, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, his counter-affidavits and controverting evidence with proof of service thereof on the complainant. The complainant may file reply affidavits within ten (10) days after service of the counter-affidavits.

c) If the respondent does not file a counter-affidavit, the investigating officer may consider the comment filed by him, if any, as his answer to the complaint. In any event, the respondent shall have access to the evidence on record.

d) No motion to dismiss shall be allowed except for lack of jurisdiction. Neither may be motion for a bill of particulars be entertained. If respondent desires any matter in the complainant’s affidavit to be clarified, the particularization thereof may be done at the time of clarificatory questioning in the manner provided in paragraph (f) of this section.

e) If the respondent cannot be served with the order mentioned in paragraph 6 hereof, or having been served, does not comply therewith, the complaint shall be deemed submitted for resolution on the basis of the evidence on record.

f) If, after the filing of the requisite affidavits and their supporting evidences, there are facts material to the case which the investigating officer may need to be clarified on, he may conduct a clarificatory hearing during which the parties shall be afforded the opportunity to be present but without the right to examine or cross-examine the witness being questioned. Where the appearance of the parties or witnesses is impracticable, the clarificatory questioning may be conducted in writing, whereby the questions desired to be asked by the investigating officer or a party shall be reduced into writing and served on the witness concerned who shall be required to answer the same in writing and under oath.

g) Upon the termination of the preliminary investigation, the investigating officer shall forward the records of the case together with his resolution to the designated authorities for their appropriate action thereon.

No information may be filed and no complaint may be dismissed without the written authority or approval of the Ombudsman in cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, or of the proper Deputy Ombudsman in all other cases.

Sec. 5. CASES FALLING UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS. — Cases falling under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman which are cognizable by municipal trial courts, including those subject to the Rule of Summary Procedure may only be filed in court by information approved by the Ombudsman or the proper Deputy Ombudsman.

Sec. 6. NOTICE TO PARTIES. — The parties shall be served with a copy of the resolution as finally approved by the Ombudsman or by the proper Deputy Ombudsman.

Sec. 7. MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. — a) Only one (1) motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation of an approved order or resolution shall be allowed, the same to be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice thereof with the Office of the Ombudsman, or the Deputy Ombudsman as the case may be.

b) No motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation shall be entertained after the information shall have been filed in court, except upon order of the court wherein the case was filed.

RULE III

PROCEDURE IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASES

SECTION 1. GROUNDS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT. — An administrative complaint may be filed for acts or omissions, including but not limited to the following:

a) contrary to law or regulations;

b) unreasonable, unfair, oppressive or discriminating;

c) inconsistent with the general course of the agency’s functions though in accordance with law;

d) on a mistake of law or an arbitrary ascertainment of facts;

e) in the exercise of discretionary powers but for an improper purpose;

f) otherwise irregular, immoral or devoid of justification;

g) due to any delay or refusal to comply with the referral or directive of the Ombudsman or any of his deputies against the office or employee to whom it was addressed; and

h) such other grounds provided for under PD 807, RA 6713 and other applicable laws.

Sec. 2. PUBLIC OFFICERS COVERED; EXCEPTIONS. — All elective and appointive officials of the government and its subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies, including Members of the Cabinet, local governments, government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries are subject to the disciplinary authority of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Excepted from the foregoing are Members of Congress, the Judiciary, and officials removable only by impeachment; provided, however, that the Office of the Ombudsman may investigate any serious misconduct in office allegedly committed by officials removable only by impeachment, for the purpose of filing a verified complaint for impeachment, if warranted.

Sec. 3. HOW INITIATED. — An administrative case may be initiated by a written complaint under oath accompanied by affidavits of witnesses and other evidences in support of the charge. An administrative proceeding may also be ordered by the Ombudsman or the respective Deputy Ombudsman on his initiative or on the basis of a complaint originally files as a criminal action or a grievance complaint or request for assistance.

Sec. 4. EVALUATION. — Upon receipt of the complaint, the same shall be evaluated to determine whether the same may be:

a) dismissed outright for any of the grounds stated under section 20 of R.A. 6770;

b) referred to other disciplinary authorities under paragraph 2, Section 23, RA 6770 for the taking of appropriate administrative proceedings;

c) the subject of administrative adjudication by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Sec. 5. ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION; HOW CONDUCTED. —

a) If the complaint is not dismissed for any of the causes enumerated in Section 20 of Republic Act No. 6770, the respondent shall be furnished with copy of the affidavits and other evidences submitted by the complainant, and shall be ordered to file his counter-affidavits and other evidences in support of his defense, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, together with proof of service of the same on the complainant who may file reply affidavits within ten (10) days from receipt of the counter-affidavits of the respondent.

b) If, on the basis of the affidavits and other evidences submitted by the parties, the investigating officer finds no sufficient cause to warrant further proceedings, the complaint may be dismissed. Otherwise, he shall summon the parties to a preliminary conference to consider the following matters:

1) Whether the parties desire a formal investigation or are willing to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the evidence on record and such other evidences they will present at such conference; or

2) Should the parties desire a formal investigation to determine the nature of the charge, stipulation of facts, a definition of the issues, identification and marking of exhibits, limitation of witnesses, and such other matters as would expedite the proceedings.

c) After the preliminary conference, the investigating officer shall issue an order reciting the matters taken up during the conference including the facts stipulated, the evidences marked and the issues involved. The contents of this order may not be deviated from unless amended to prevent manifest injustice.

d) Should a hearing be conducted, the parties shall be notified at least five (5) days before the date thereof. Failure of any or both of the parties to appear at the hearing is not necessarily a cause for the dismissal of the complaint. A party who appears may be allowed to present his evidence in the absence of the adverse party who was duly notified of the hearing.

e) Only witnesses who have submitted affidavits served on the adverse party at least five (5) days before the date of his being presented as a witness may be allowed to testify at the hearing. The affidavit of any witness shall constitute his direct testimony, subject to cross-examination, re-direct examination and re-cross-examination.

f) The parties shall be allowed that assistance of counsel and the right to the production of evidence through the compulsory process of subpoena and subpoena duces tecum.

Sec. 6. RENDITION OF DECISION. — Not later than thirty (30) days after the termination of the hearing, the investigating officer shall submit a resolution containing his findings and recommendation for the approval of the Ombudsman. Once approved, the said resolution shall constitute the decision in the case. Copy thereof shall be served upon the parties and the head of the office or agency of which the respondent as in official or employee for his information and compliance with any directive contained therein.

Sec. 7. FINALITY OF DECISION. — Where the respondent is absolved of the charge and in case of conviction where the penalty imposed is public censure or reprimand, suspension of not more than one (1) month, or a fine equivalent to one (1) month salary, the decision shall be final and unappealable. In all other cases, the decision shall become final after the expiration of ten (10) days from receipt thereof by the respondent, unless a motion for reconsideration or petition for certiorari shall have been filed by him as prescribed in Section 27 of RA 6770.

Sec. 8. MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OR REINVESTIGATION. — Whenever allowable, a motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation may only be entertained if filed within ten (10) days from receipt of the decision by the respondent on any of the following grounds:

a) New evidence had been discovered which materially affects the order, directive or decision.

b) Errors of facts or law, or irregularities have been committed prejudicial to the interest of the movant.

Only one motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation shall be allowed, and the hearing officer shall resolved the same within five (5) days from receipt thereof.

Sec. 9. PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION. — Pending investigation, the respondent may be preventively suspended without pay for a period of not more than six (6) months if, in the judgment of the Ombudsman or hi proper deputy, the evidence of guilt is strong, and (a) the charge against such officer or employee involves dishonesty, oppression or gross misconduct, or neglect in the performance of duty; or (b) the charge would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the respondent’s continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him.

If the administrative investigation is not terminated within the period of the respondent is suspended, the respondent shall be automatically reinstated unless the delay in the disposition of the case is due to the fault, negligence, or any cause attributable to the respondent, in which case the period of such delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension.

Sec. 10. PENALTIES. — (a) In administrative proceedings conducted under PD 807 by agencies or offices other than the Office of the Ombudsman, the penalties under said law shall be imposed.; (b) In administrative proceedings conducted under these rules, the Office of the Ombudsman may impose a penalty ranging from suspension without pay for one (1) year to dismissal with forfeiture of benefits or a fine ranging from five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) to twice the amount malversed, illegally taken, or lost, or both, at the discretion of the Ombudsman, taking into consideration circumstances that mitigate or aggravate the liability of the officer or employee found guilty of the complaint or charge.

This is without prejudice to the authority of the Ombudsman to exercise his authority under Section 15, paragraph (3) of RA 6770.

RULE IV

PROCEDURE IN GRIEVANCES/REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE

SECTION 1. GRIEVANCE OR REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE; NATURE OF. — A grievance or request for assistance may consist of a complaint or request seeking redress or relief concerning an act or omission of public official or employee, office or agency alleged to be unreasonable, unfair, oppressive, discriminatory, improper or inefficient, and which does not necessarily amount to a criminal or administrative offense.

Sec. 2. BY WHOM HANDLED. — Grievance or request for assistance shall be acted upon by the Public Assistance Office of the Central Office of the Ombudsman, or in the Office of the respective Deputy Ombudsman.

Sec. 3. ACTION THEREON. — A grievance or request for assistance shall be acted upon immediately upon receipt.

a) Where the grievance or request for assistance appears to be manifestly frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith, or where it involves a matter purely between private parties, the same may be dismissed outright and the complainant/requesting party informed of the reasons for such dismissal;

b) Where the redress, relief or assistance sought may be acted upon by another office, the same may be referred to the office concerned, with the Public Assistance Office following it up in behalf of the complainant.

c) In all other cases which the Office of the Ombudsman may take cognizance of, the procedure in the following sections shall be observed.

Sec. 4. PROCEDURE. — a) If the grievance or request is relatively simple and/or requires immediate action, the same may be acted upon by telegram, telephone, or other means of communication or given personal attention by going to the office or agency concerned.

a) Whenever deemed necessary or advisable, a copy of the grievance or request for assistance, together with pertinent documents shall be sent to the public official, employee or agency concerned, copy furnished its head and the Resident Ombudsman, if any, for the taking of immediate remedial action; or, if the relief requested may not be complied with, to submit a written explanation therefor.

b) Whenever deemed necessary or advisable, a copy of the grievance or request for assistance, together with pertinent documents shall be sent to the public official, employee or agency concerned, copy furnished its head and the Resident Ombudsman, if any, for the taking of immediate remedial action; or, if the relief requested may not be complied with, to submit a written explanation therefor.

c) If such explanation is found satisfactory, and/or appropriate action had already been taken on the grievance or request, the same shall be dismissed and the parties informed accordingly.

d) The Public Assistance Office may arrange a conference between the complainant/requesting party, and the public official concerned with a view to a satisfactory and expeditious resolution of the grievance/request.

e) Upon consideration of the facts or information gathered, a resolution on the grievance or request shall be made within two (2) days of which the parties shall be notified, and appropriate steps taken to insure compliance therewith.

Sec. 5. EFFECT OF NON-COMPLIANCE. — Any delay or refusal to comply with the referral or directive of the Ombudsman or any of the deputies shall constitute a ground for administrative disciplinary action against the officer or employee to whom it was addressed pursuant to Section 26, paragraph (4) of RA 6770.

RULE V

SECTION 1. IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION. — a) Any person whose testimony or production of documents or other evidence is necessary to determine the truth in any inquiry, hearing, or proceeding being conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman or under its authority in the performance or furtherance of its constitutional functions and statutory objectives, including preliminary investigation, may be granted immunity from criminal prosecution by the Ombudsman, upon such terms and conditions as the Ombudsman may determine, taking into account the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court.

Such immunity may be granted upon application of the concerned party, the investigating, hearing, or prosecuting officer, or at the instance of the Ombudsman. Provided, however, that in all cases, the concerned party shall execute an affidavit reciting the substance of his proposed testimony and/or the nature of the evidence in his possession.

b) In all hearings, inquiries, and proceedings of the Office of the Ombudsman, including preliminary investigation of the offenses, no person subpoenaed to testify as a witness shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, papers, correspondence, memoranda and/or other records on the ground that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him may tend to incriminate him subject to prosecution: Provided, that no person shall be prosecuted criminally for or on account of any matter, concerning which he is compelled to testify and produce evidence, after having claimed the privilege against self-incrimination.

c) the grant of immunity from criminal prosecution under the preceding paragraphs may be revoked upon proper notice in the event that the person granted immunity subsequently retracts his statement, or fails or refuses to testify or produce evidence in court in accordance with the sworn statement upon which his immunity was granted.

Neither shall such grant of immunity exempt the party concerned from criminal prosecution for perjury or false testimony, nor shall he be exempt from demotion or removal from office.

Sec. 2. PUBLIC DISCLOSURE; EXEMPTION. — When circumstances so warrant and with due prudence, the Office of the Ombudsman may publicize in a fair and balanced manner the filing of a complaint, grievance or request for assistance, and the final resolution, decision or action taken thereon: Provided, however, that prior to such final action, no publicity shall be make of matters which may adversely affect national security or public interest, prejudice the safety of the witnesses or the disposition of the case, or unduly expose persons complained against to ridicule or public censure.

Sec. 3. RULES OF COURT APPLICATION. — In all matters not provided in these rules, the Rules of Court shall apply in a suppletory character, or by analogy whenever practicable and convenient.

Sec. 4. EFFECTIVITY. — These rules shall take effect following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette or in three (3) newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines, one of which is printed in the national language.

They shall govern all cases brought after they take effect and to further proceedings in cases then pending, except to the extent that their application would not be feasible or would cause injustice to any party.

Sec. 5. SEPARABILITY CLAUSE. — If any provision of these rules is held unconstitutional, other provisions not effected thereby shall remain valid and binding.

Makati, Metro Manila, April 10, 1990.

(Sgd.) CONRADO M. VASQUEZ

Ombudsman

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