Harry Roque files bill allowing Ombudsman to deputize private prosecutors

Office of the Ombudsman photo from philstar.com

Rep. Harry L. Roque on Tuesday filed a bill amending the Ombudsman Law to authorize the Office of the Ombudsman to deputize the prosecution cases to private lawyers and law firms.

House Bill 4754 amends the Republic Act 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) to allow the services of private lawyers to be deputized by the Ombudsman, in cooperation with, and under the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

“This is a proffered solution to the spate of dismissals of cases filed by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan,” Roque said.

“Unlike in ordinary criminal cases where private prosecutors are allowed to prosecute the civil aspect of the case, private lawyers cannot do so in the Sandiganbayan,” he added.

Under Roque’s proposal, the deputized lawyers will work under the Office of the Special Prosecutor and shall remain under its supervision and control, upon authority of the Ombudsman.

A compensation structure based on the work evaluation studies shall be instituted, subject to the Ombudsman’s approval.

“The Ombudsman shall prepare a compensation structure to conform as closely as possible to the principles for in Republic Act 6758 or the Salary Standardization Act.”

In his exploratory note, the lawmaker said the conviction rate of the Office of the Ombudsman has historically been very low, ranging from 10 to 25 percent, depending on the year and source.

“Of late, it is most worrisome that the Office of the Special Prosecutor had lost cases against so-called ‘big fish,’ three of which are cases that were either filed by the undersigned, or cases where the undersigned had involvement in the filing of cases; to wit: the NBN-ZTE scam, the fertilizer fund scam, and the Malampaya fund scam,” Roque said.

“These cases were dismissed despite the fact that both the Senate and the Ombudsman had previously investigated them and found the evidence to be sufficient,” he added.

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