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Ohlala Couple - 05 March 2013

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Ohlala Couple - 05 March 2013
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by : FlipBooth on Mar 4, 2013
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News Report:

SC junks Syjuco plea vs. President authority over Deputy Ombudsman

The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition filed by former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr. seeking to strip off the President with authority to discipline the Deputy Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor.

In a five-page notice of resolution, the SC said Syjuco failed to prove that he would suffer great injustice and injury with the supposed “interference” of the executive department with the Office of the Ombudsman.

“His allegation... is unsubstantiated and is without any leg to stand on,” the high court said. “We rule that petitioner failed to demonstrate adequate interest in the outcome of the controversy as to vest him with the requisite locus standi.”

In his petition, Syjuco argued that he has “locus standi” or legal standing on the matter because he stands to be affected by the “continued interference” of the Office of the President with the Office of the Ombudsman, before which he has pending cases.

The SC had already struck down as unconstitutional Section 8 (2) of Republic Act 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of  1989, which gave the President the authority to discipline both the Deputy Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor.

The high court ultimately ruled that the President can only discipline only the special prosecutor, and not the deputy ombudsman.

According to the court, locus standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in a case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged.

The high court reiterated its earlier ruling that taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, and legislators may only sue if:
  • the cases involve constitutional issues;
  • for taxpayers , there must be a claim of illegal disbursement of public funds or that the tax measure is unconstitutional;
  • for voters, thee must be a showing of obvious interest in the validity of the election law in question;
  • for concerned citizens, there must be a showing that the issues raised are of transcendental importance which must be settled early; and
  • for legislators, there must be a claim that the official action complained of infringes upon their prerogative as legislators.

“It has been held that as to the element of injury, such aspect is not something that just anybody with some grievance or pain may assert,” the SC said.

“It has to be direct and substantial to make it worth the court's time, as well as the effort of inquiry into the constitutionality of the acts of another department of government,” it added.

The high tribunal also said that Syjuco's petition has become “moot and academic” since the court has already ruled in September last year and January this year that the President has authority to discipline only a special prosecutor and not a deputy ombudsman.

The SC last April 1 has already junked a partial motion for recorder action filed by the Office of the Solicitor General.

In its rulings, the Supreme Court acknowledged that while the President's power to remove a deputy Ombudsman is “implied from his power to appoint,” it does not “diminish the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.”
The court, however, said the President can remove a deputy Ombudsman on two grounds:
  •     that the removal of the Deputy Ombudsman must be for any of the grounds provided for the removal of the Ombudsman, which is through impeachment, and;
  •     that there must be observance of due process.

The grounds for impeachment of a public official are culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. — KBK, GMA News

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