M a n i l a
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 1607
REVISING PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1487 CREATING THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, TO BE KNOWN AS TANODBAYAN
To give effect to the constitutional right of the people to petition the government for redress for grievances and to promote higher standards of integrity and efficiency in the government service, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me under the Constitution, hereby order and decree as follows:
Section 1. Short Title. This Decree may be cited as the Tanodbayan Decree.
Section 2. Establishment of Office. An independent office of the Ombudsman, to be called the Tanodbayan, is hereby established. The Tanodbayan shall have two Deputies for Luzon, one for the Visayas and one for Mindanao.
Section 3. Appointment. The President shall appoint the Tanodbayan and his Deputies.
Section 4. Qualifications. The Tanodbayan and his Deputies shall be members of the bar, well equipped to analyze problems of law, administration, and public policy and shall not have been actively involved in partisan affairs;
Section 5. Disqualifications. The Tanodbayan and his Deputies shall not, during their tenure in office, engage in the practice of any profession or in the management of any business, or be financially interested directly or indirectly in any contract with or in any franchise or privilege granted by, the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof including government-owned or controlled corporations.
Section 6. Terms of Office. (a) The Tanodbayan and his Deputies shall serve for a term of seven years without reappointment unless removed by the President upon his determination that the Tanodbayan or any of Deputies has become incapacitated or has been guilty of neglect of duty, or misconduct.
(a) If the Office of Tanodbayan becomes vacant for any cause, the Senior Deputy Tanodbayan shall serve as Acting Tanodbayan until the Tanodbayan shall have been appointed for a full term.
Section 7. Salary. Unless otherwise provided by law, the Tanodbayan and each Deputy Tanodbayan shall receive an annual salary of sixty thousand pesos and fifty thousand pesos, respectively, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
Section 8. Organization of Office. (a) The Tanodbayan may select, appoint, and compensate in accordance with the Civil Service law and within the amount available by appropriation, such assistants and employees for the national and local offices thereof as he may deem necessary to discharge his responsibilities under this Decree;
(a) The Tanodbayan shall designate one of his Deputies to be the Senior Deputy Tanodbayan, with authority to act in his stead when he himself is disabled or protractedly absent;
(b) The Tanodbayan may delegate to other members of his staff any of his authority or duties under this Decree except this power of delegation and the duty of formally making recommendations to administrative agencies or reports to the President or the National Assembly.
Section 9. Definitions. As used in this Decree, the term
(a) "Administrative agency" means any department or other governmental unit including any government-owned or controlled corporation, any official, or any employee acting or purporting to act by reason of connection with the government but it does not include (1) any court or judge, or appurtenant judicial staff; (2) the members, committees or staffs of the National Assembly except members thereof performing executive functions; (3) the President or his personal staff; and (4) the members of the Constitutional Commissions and their personal staffs.
(b) "Administrative act" refers to any action including decisions, omissions, recommendations, practices, or procedures of an administrative agency.
(c) "Failure of justice" refers to the defeat of a particular right, or of the failure or reparation for a particular wrong, from the lack or inadequacy of a legal remedy for the enforcement of the one or the redress of the other.
Section 10. Powers. The Tanodbayan shall have the following powers:
(a) He may investigate, on complaint by any person or on his own motion or initiative, any administrative act whether amounting to any criminal offense or not of any administrative agency including any government-owned or controlled corporation;
(b) He shall prescribed the methods by which complaints are to be made, received, and acted upon; he may determine the scope and manner of investigations to be made; and, subject to the requirements of this Decree, he may determine the form, frequency, and distribution of his conclusions and recommendations;
(c) He may request and shall be given by each administrative agency the assistance and information he deems necessary to the discharge of his responsibilities; he may examine the records and documents of all administrative agencies; and he may enter and inspect premises within any administrative agency's control, provided, however, that where the President in writing certifies that such information, examination or inspection might prejudice the national interest, the Tanodbayan shall desist. All information so obtained shall be confidential, unless the President, in the interest of public service, decides otherwise;
(d) He may issue a subpoena to compel any person to appear, give sworn to testimony, or produce documentary or other evidence the Tanodbayan deems relevant to a matter under his inquiry;
(e) He may undertake, participate in, cooperate with general studies or inquiries, whether or not related to any particular administrative agency or any particular administrative act; if he believes that they may enhance knowledge about or lead to improvements in the functioning of administrative agencies.
Section 11. Matters Appropriate for Investigation. (a) In selecting matters for his attention, the Tanodbayan should address himself particularly to an administrative act that might be
1. contrary to law or regulation;
2. unreasonable, unfair, oppressive, or inconsistent with the general course of an administrative agency's functioning;
3. mistaken in law or arbitrary in ascertainments of facts;
4. improper in motivation or based on irrelevant considerations;
5. unclear or inadequately explained when reasons should have been revealed;
6. inefficiently performed; or
7. otherwise objectionable;
(b) The Tanodbayan may concern himself also with strengthening procedures and practices which lessen the risk of occurrence of any objectionable administrative acts.
Section 12. Action on Complaints. (a) The Tanodbayan may receive a complaint from any source concerning an administrative act. At no expense to the complainant, he shall conduct a suitable investigation into the things complained of unless he believes that
1. the complainant has available to him another remedy or channel of complaint which he could reasonably be expected to use;
2. the grievance pertains to a matter outside the Tanodbayan's power;
3. the complainant's interest is insufficiently related to the subject matter;
4. the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or not made in good faith;
5. other complaints are worthy of attention;
6. the Tanodbayan's resources are insufficient for adequate investigation; or
7. the complaint has been too long delayed to justify present examination of its merits.
(b) After completing his consideration of a complaint whether or not it has been investigated, the Tanodbayan shall suitably inform the complaint and, when appropriate, the administrative agency or agencies involved.
(c) A letter to the Tanodbayan from a person in a place of detention or in a hospital or other institution under the control of an administrative agency shall be immediately forwarded, unopened, to the Tanodbayan.
Section 13. Consultation with Agency. Before announcing a conclusion or recommendation that criticizes and administrative agency or any person, the Tanodbayan shall consult with that agency or person.
Section 14. Recommendations. (a) If, having considered a complaint and whatever material he deems pertinent, the Tanodbayan is of the opinion that an administrative agency should (1) consider the matter further, (2) modify or cancel an administrative act, (3) alter a regulation or ruling, (4) explain fully the administrative act in question, or (5) take any other step, he shall state his recommendations to the administrative agency. If the Tanodbayan so requests, the agency shall, within the time he has specified, inform him about the action taken on his recommendations or the reasons for not complying with them;
(b) If the Tanodbayan believes that an administrative action has been dictated by laws whose results are unfair or otherwise objectionable, he shall bring to the notice of the National Assembly his views concerning desirable statutory change.
Section 15. Publication or Recommendations. The Tanodbayan may publish his conclusions, recommendations, and suggestions by transmitting them to the President, the National Assembly, or any of its committees, the press, and others who may be concerned. When publishing an opinion adverse to an administrative agency or official he shall, unless excused by the agency or official affected, include the substance of any statement the administrative agency or official may have made to him by way of explaining past difficulties or present rejection of the Tanodbayan's proposals.
Section 16. Reports. In addition to whatever reports he may make from time to time, the Tanodbayan shall on or about August 15 of each year report to the National Assembly and to the President concerning the exercise of his functions during the preceding calendar year. This report shall be published in the Official Gazette and copies thereof shall be furnished the provincial governors and city mayors. In discussing matters with which he has dealt, the Tanodbayan need not identify those immediately concerned if to do so would cause needless hardship. So far as the annual report may criticize named agencies or officials; it must also include the substance of their replies to the criticism.
Section 17. Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor. There is hereby created in the Office of the Tanodbayan an Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor composed of a Chief Special Prosecutor, an Assistant Chief Special Prosecutor, and nine (9) Special Prosecutors, who shall have the same qualifications as provincial and city fiscals and who shall be appointed by the President; Provided, that the President may, in his discretion, designate the Chief State Prosecutor of the Ministry of Justice or any other ranking official in the prosecutory arm of the government as Ex-Officio Chief Special Prosecutor and/or Assistant Chief Special Prosecutor. Except when the offices of the Chief State Prosecutor and/or Assistant Chief Special Prosecutor are filled by designation or held in an ex-officio capacity as above-provided, in which case the incumbents shall not receive any additional compensation other than such allowances, per diems and traveling expenses as may be determined by the Tanodbayan in accordance with existing law, rules and regulation, the Chief Special Prosecutor shall have an annual compensation of P40,000.00, the Assistant Chief Special Prosecutor of P38,000.00, and Special Prosecutors of P34,000.00, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
The Chief Special Prosecutor, the Assistant Chief Special Prosecutor, and the Special Prosecutors shall have the exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan; to file information thereof and to direct and control the prosecution of said cases therein; Provided, however, that the Tanodbayan may, upon recommendation of the Chief Special Prosecutor, designate any fiscal, state prosecutor or lawyer in the government service to act as Special Prosecutor to assist in the investigation and prosecution of all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan who shall not receive any additional compensation except such allowances, per diems and traveling expenses as the Tanodbayan may determine in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations.
No publicity shall be allowed during the pendency of such preliminary investigation and the name of the complainant and the accused shall not be made public until an information is filed with the Sandiganbayan.
The Chief Special Prosecutor, Assistant Chief Special Prosecutor, Special Prosecutors and Prosecutor/lawyers designated as herein provided shall have the authority to administer oaths, to issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, to summon and compel witnesses to appear and testify under oath before them and/or to bring books, documents, and other things under their control, and to secure the attendance or presence of any absent or recalcitrant witness through application before the Sandiganbayan or before any inferior or superior court having jurisdiction of the place where the witness or evidence is found.
The Chief Special Prosecutor, Assistant State Prosecutor, Special Prosecutor and those designated to assist them as herein provided for shall be under the control and supervision of the Tanodbayan and their resolutions and actions shall not be subject to review by any administrative agency.
Section 18. Special Investigators. To assist the Chief Special Prosecutor in the performance of his duties, and Tanodbayan may, upon recommendation of the Chief Special Prosecutor, appoint and compensate such number of Special Investigators and subordinate personnel as may be deemed necessary thereof, and/or detail to the Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor, any officer or employees of the Government or of any government-owned or controlled corporation; provided, that those designated shall not receive additional compensation except per diems, traveling and necessary expenses as may be determined by the Tanodbayan in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations. The Special Investigators and subordinate personnel shall be under the supervision and control of the Chief Special Prosecutor and their appointment shall be subject to the Civil Service law and rules.
The Tanodbayan may, upon proper request of the Chief Special Prosecutor, require the assistance and services of any department, agency or bureau of the government or of any government-owned or controlled corporation in the performance of his duties and functions as herein provided.
Section 19. Prosecution of Public Personnel or Other person. If the Tanodbayan has reason to believe that any public official, employee, or other person has acted in a manner warranting criminal or disciplinary action or proceedings, he shall cause him to be investigated by the Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor who shall file and prosecute the corresponding criminal or administrative case before the Sandiganbayan or the proper court or before the proper administrative agency. In case of failure of justice, the Sandiganbayan shall make the appropriate recommendations to the administrative agency concerned.
Section 20. Tanodbayan's Immunities. (a) No proceeding, opinion or expression of the Tanodbayan or any member of his staff, shall be reviewable in any court;
(b) No civil action shall lie against the Tanodbayan or any member of his staff for anything done or said or omitted, in discharging the responsibilities contemplated by this Decree;
(c) Neither the Tanodbayan nor any member of his staff shall be required to testify or produce evidence in any judicial, legislative or administrative proceeding concerning matters within his official cognizance, except in a proceeding brought to enforce this Decree.
Section 21. Rights and Duties of Witnesses. (a) A person required by the Tanodbayan to provide information shall be paid the same fees and travel allowances as are extended to witnesses whose attendance has been required in the courts of first instance.
(a) A person who, with or without service of compulsory process, provided oral or documentary information requested by the Tanodbayan shall be accorded the same privileges and immunities as are extended to witnesses in the courts, and shall also be entitled to be assisted by counsel while being questioned.
(b) If a person refuses to respond to the Tanodbayan's subpoena, refuses to be examined or engages in obstructive misconduct, the Tanodbayan shall certify the facts to the Sandiganbayan or the court of first instance. The court shall thereupon issue an order directing the person to appear before it to show cause why he should not be punished as for contempt. The order and copy of the tanodbayan's certified statement shall be served on the person. Thereafter the court shall have jurisdiction of the matter. The same proceedings shall be had, the same penalties may be imposed, and the person charged may purge himself of the contempt in the same way as in the case of a person who has committed a contempt in the trial of a criminal or civil action before the court.
Section 22. Obstruction. A person who willfully obstructs or hinders the proper exercise of the Tanodbayan's functions or who willfully misleads or attempts to mislead the Tanodbayan in his inquiries, shall be fined not more than P5,000.00.
Section 23. Repealing Clause and Relation to Other Laws. Republic Act No. 6028 and all laws, General Orders. Presidential Decrees, Letters of Instructions, rules and regulations inconsistent with this Decree are hereby repealed; but, otherwise, the provisions of this Decree are in addition to and do not limit or affect the provisions of any other enactment under which any remedy or right of appeal is provided for any person, or any procedure is provided for the inquiry into or investigation of any matter. The powers conferred on the Tanodbayan may be exercised notwithstanding any provision in any enactment that any administrative action shall be final or unappealable.
Section 24. Appropriation. There is hereby appropriated the sum of Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00) to carry out the provisions of this Decree. Thereafter the appropriation for the Office of the Tanodbayan shall be included in the general appropriations act.
Section 25. This Decree shall take effect immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 10th day of December, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-eight.
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